Next government must make pipeline of women on boards a priority

LONDON, 5 May 2015 - Inspire, global women's board network part of Harvey Nash calls for targets to increase female executives. 

The current Coalition Government has done a good job of encouraging gender diversity at board-level, however one key area where little progress has been made is around executive diversity, which remains stubbornly low. We need the next government to: 

1. Continue monitoring the progress of women on corporate boards and the recommendations set out by Lord Davies' 2011 review until each FTSE 350 achieves at least 25% female representation and there are no more all-male boards.
2. Expand the remit of the Lord Davies Committee to focus on increasing the executive pipeline, setting a new target to achieve double figures by the end of 2016 and reach at least 20% by 2020

3. Promote flexible working and shared parental leave, encouraging take up by both men and women.

4. Require larger companies in industries where women are traditionally under-represented to build partnerships with schools through organisations such as Inspiring the Future, Speakers for Schools or STEMNET to help dismantle stereotypes of jobs for boys and jobs for girls.

5. Launch a Lord Davies style review of diversity and inclusion on boards to make recommendations on increasing representation of those listed with 'protected characteristics' under the Equality Act 2010 and socio-economic diversity. 

6. Lead by example by continuing the campaign for 50% of new public appointments to be female.

Inspire founder and director at Harvey Nash, Carol Rosati says:

"We've come a long way in four years, with the highest representation of women on UK's leading boards, but this is no time to be complacent. Government and media pressure have had a heavy influence in moving this issue to the top of the agenda, and we need to see this commitment carried through in the next parliament.

"The priority must be on building a sustainable pipeline by prioritising women in future policy development and encouraging the take up existing policies that help women remain in the labour market. There must also be more effort at the grassroots in bringing business and education closer together to attract young girls into sectors traditionally prescribed to men. 

"Diversity is not just a nice to have, it is an economic priority because businesses perform better when they reflect their customers and clients. We know that what benefits women, benefits all and, by closing the gender gap we pave way for other under-represented groups to the boardroom."



Media relations contact:
Amanda Ciske 
Communications Manager, Inspire 
T: +44 207 444 1505 
M: +44 7469 856513

About Inspire:
Established in 2008 and supported by Harvey Nash, Inspire is a unique business forum where senior board-level women chairs, CEOs and directors can share and exchange ideas and experiences with their peers. Inspire now connects over 5000 board-level inspirational individuals from all areas of industry in both the private and public sector across the UK, US, Sweden, Finland, Norway, France, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Australia. 

About Harvey Nash:
Established in 1988, Harvey Nash has supported many of the world's leading organisations to recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive and technology driven world.  

With 7,000 professionals in 43 offices across the USA, Europe and Asia, the Group has the reach and resources of a global organisation, whilst fostering a culture of innovation and agility that empowers its people to respond to constantly changing client needs. We work with clients, both large and small, to deliver a portfolio of services: executive search, professional recruitment and offshore services.