Women in the UK are taking the boardroom by storm and if trends continue to look up, there could be gender uniformity within the next five years.
By Zee Johnson
The push for gender equality at the executive level in British businesses is picking up steam. Now, the UK is in the top 10 countries who have the most boardroom gender diversity.
A recent Deloitte survey revealed that nearly a third (30.1%) of all UK board seats are held by women, a significant increase from previous years like 2016 (20.3%), 2018 (22.7%), and 2019 (19.4%). And though more women have “a seat at the table,” the survey also showed that more work is needed to put the UK in line with other European nations, like France, whose boardroom representation sits at 45% as of 2021.
According to the report, the UK could reach gender uniformity within the boardroom by 2027.
Globally, companies who are headed by a woman see more gender-balanced boards, compared to their male counterparts. Women currently account for 6% of CEOS in the UK, just a 1% increase from 2019.
The pressure for companies to expand their gender equality has surmounted, with support for change stemming from key stakeholders and shareholders, as well as the talent pool full of The Great Resignation candidates. Pavita Cooper, deputy chair of the 30% Club, thinks things are looking up for future female leaders. “In the midst of the pandemic that has placed such a heavy burden on women and risks wiping out decades of progress on gender equality, it is encouraging to see evidence of the advancement of women in senior leadership of companies around the world.”
Having more women in the boardroom can drastically increase once an organisation’s culture shifts. Some important issues that are waiting be addressed include improving childcare provisions, offering flexible working as standard, and giving women promotion opportunities.
Jemima Olchawski, chief executive of women’s charity the Fawcett Society, believes with the proper support, women can continue their elevation to the top.
“For women to thrive and reach positions of power, structural inequalities in the workplace need to be addressed. Without action, the pace of change to reach gender parity will remain glacial,” she says. “By having more women, and in particular more disabled women, more women of colour and more LGBT+ people represented at a board level, workplaces will become richer in ideas, experiences and perspectives.”