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Gender progress must speed up, says CIPD

Feb 27
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Gender progress must speed up, says CIPD

The pace of change for gender equality in the boardroom needs to accelerate, according to a report from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

While it recognises that some progress has been made, it is adamant that the speed of the transformation must quicken, as there has only been a 1.8 per cent increase in the number of women occupying roles at an executive level since 2012.

At an event held yesterday (February 26th), the CIPD urged more businesses to improve visibility of women in both executive and non-executive roles, and to adopt a voluntary target of at least 20 per cent female directors among FTSE 100 firms by 2020.

Mandatory quotas were discussed in detail by business and women and equalities minister Jo Swinson, 30 Percent Club founder Helena Morrissey, economist and author Vicky Price and O2 human resources director Ann Pickering, as well as the CIPD's own diversity advisor Dianah Worman OBE.

The event will also mark the launch of the CIPD's latest research on gender diversity in the boardroom, which explores perspectives in female representation and practical strategies for improving the situation.

The study discovered that a clear majority of businesses (60 per cent) were against mandatory boardroom quotas and believe voluntary targets, greater initiative awareness, workforce monitoring and building sustainable strategies are more effective.

"Gender diversity in the boardroom simply makes good business sense," Ms Swinson commented.

She added that there is growing evidence that companies with more women on their boards often outperform their male-dominated counterparts.

"FTSE boards have made fantastic progress since the Davies Review launched in 2011, but we must keep up the momentum to reach our 25 per cent target by 2015. The potential threat of EU mandatory targets should be at the forefront of companies' minds, if they are unable to show that they are doing their part to improve gender diversity."

Ms Swinson has urged businesses to continue championing talented women in order to create lasting change. She believes the latest report from the CIPD highlights the need to increase the number of female executive director appointments and looks forward to seeing progression happen.

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