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Business & Finance Series: Expert Comment

Gender Equality Tipping Point

by City Press Office (General enquiries)

Prime Minister David Cameron has lauded the meeting of a target to ensure that women make up at least 25 per cent of FTSE 100 firms by end of 2015, as forecast in a report co-authored by City University London academic, Dr Ruth Sealy.

This goal – double the figure recorded in 2011 – was described as a “tipping point” in improving gender equality with boardroom jobs according to the 2015 Cranfield Female FTSE Board Report.

The report, from the Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders at Cranfield School of Management, was co-authored by experts from a number of institutions including Professor Susan Vinnicombe CBE, Dr Elena Doldor, Dr Sealy, Dr Patricia Pryce and Caroline Turner.

Dr Sealy, a Senior Lecturer in Organisational Psychology at City, said: “It’s fantastic news that this target has been hit and shows what can be achieved when there is a will to change. The continuous stream of research led by Professor Susan Vinnicombe, myself and colleagues over the past 15 years and latterly through the Davies Committee, has influenced the voluntary led business approach, galvanizing many stakeholders into action.

“Congratulations to them all. However, it is really important that this change now filters down throughout all listed PLCs. In addition, all companies must now focus on building their pipeline of female executives, through actions not just words, to sustain a diverse leadership pool.”

The target has been met due to recent appointments of non-executive directors such as Diane Schueneman at Barclays, Irene Lee and Pauline van der Meer Mohr at HSBC and Belén Romana García at Aviva.

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