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Number of women on UK corporate boards is rising

Two and half years ago Lord Davies set a goal for a quarter of the seats in the boardrooms of the UK's 100 biggest companies to be held by women by 2015.

At the time, women held 12.5% of boardroom positions and there were 21 all-male boards. Therefore, the latest government update showing that the proportion of women in boardrooms has risen to 19% is a cause for celebration. Until you scratch beneath the surface. There are still six companies in the FTSE 100 that have all-male boards, while the proportion of female directors holding executive positions has reached just 6.1% from 5.5% when Davies set out his targets.

To attempt to hit the goal set by Davies, companies have taken the easiest route – appointing non-executive directors. This should not be surprising. Helena Morrissey, boss of Newton fund managers and a leading member of the 30% club, which promotes woman in boardrooms, points out that there are often only two executive positions on a board - the chief executive and the finance director - compared with six or so non-executive positions.

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