UK Firms should ‘set targets and not use shortlists’ to get more Women in Board-Level Roles

by | Jul 4, 2014 | Gender Diversity

UK businesses should set aspirational targets rather than introduce women-only shortlists to increase the number of women on boards, according to a non-departmental public body.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission made the recommendation when it published new guidance for companies, search firms and recruitment agencies about positive steps that can be taken to improve the representation of women on boards.

The organisation said firms could target networking opportunities for women as well as providing mentoring and sponsor programmes, which assist in the development of female talent.

“Research suggests that companies with diverse boards produce better performance and many companies recognise this,” said Laura Carstensen, the EHRC commissioner.

“Equality is for everyone and it is clear that there is still much more to be done to ensure that women have an equal opportunity to succeed on merit in gaining board positions.”

The commission also warned that using women-only shortlists in order to increase gender representation on boards is unlawful under equality law.

“We completely agree with the commission that board appointments must be made on merit, demonstrated through fair and transparent criteria and procedures,” said Oliver Parry, corporate governance adviser at the Institute of Directors.

“No woman or man wants to be on a board of a company simply because of their gender.”

Source: The International Business Times (UK Edition)
(First published 23 July 2014)

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