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Boards of Public Institutions: Representation of Women

Volume 602: debated on Thursday 26 November 2015

12. What steps the Government are taking to increase the representation of women on the boards of public institutions. (902390)

We are making real progress in increasing the number of women on public boards, with 44% of new appointments going to women last year, up from 39% in the previous year. Steps to increase diversity include streamlining the application process and increasing awareness of opportunities via a central website and social media.

There has been success in non-executive roles on boards but much less success in decision-making, operational roles. Only 8% of FTSE directors are women in executive positions. Does the Minister agree that quotas that focus on the wrong metric could undermine progress in this key area, which is judge and jury of success in this regard?

I completely agree with my hon. Friend that there is an abundance of talented women who have the right skills and experience for board positions. Government and business must work together to level the playing field and encourage those women to work their way up the executive pipeline. That is why the Government will establish a new review focusing on that all-important executive layer in FTSE 350 companies.