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FTSE Boards: Gender Balance

Volume 604: debated on Thursday 14 January 2016

13. What steps the Government are taking to improve the gender balance of the boards of FTSE companies. (903017)

We appointed Lord Davies in 2010 and have fully supported his work ever since, which has achieved an unprecedented increase in the number of women on boards. We welcomed his final report and back his new recommendations for a business-led 33% target for FTSE 350 boards. We are also in the process of establishing a new review focusing on the all-important executive layer.

What plans do the Government have to ensure that businesses of all sizes understand the financial and productivity benefits of diversity in their senior teams?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right: companies with more diverse boards benefit from better decision making and better corporate governance; they are more responsive to the market and they can access the wider talent pool. It is a no-brainer: diversity is better for business. We have seen real progress with our business-led Government-supported approach, but we are not complacent by any means. We will continue to engage with businesses of all sizes and in all sectors to push this work forward.