Progress for Equality

08 Mar, 2013

Commenting on women in the workplace, as it is International Women’s Day today, Emilie Bennetts, Associate at Charles Russell LLP, said: “Slow but identifiable progress has been made in equality in the boardroom since Lord Davies’ recommendation in 2011 that there should be 25% female representation on FTSE 100 boards by 2015.  While the government has stepped away from introducing mandatory boardroom quotas for women, most commentators believe that the target will be hit, even if the statistics still appear shocking.  Currently nearly 18% of FTSE 100 directors are female, according to the Professional Boards Forum’s BoardWatch. 


“Research conducted for the Observer in the private sector is less encouraging, showing that out of Britain’s top 100 private companies, only 64 publish the composition of their boards, and of those, 73% have all male teams of executive directors.  Late last year a poll by the Chartered Management Institute showed that female directors earn on average nearly £15,000 less than males in equivalent roles.


“In 2015 the government is introducing a new system of shared parental leave, to replace the current 52 week maternity leave provisions.  The mother must still take the first 2 weeks of leave following the birth, but the parents can divide and share the following 50 weeks in any way they want.  While in theory this scheme will create more flexibility for working women, it remains to be seen how popular it will be in practice and how many working men will want to take extended periods of time off work to care for children.”


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