The long-awaited news that Glencore has appointed a woman, Patrice Merrin, to its board means that there are finally no all-male boards in the FTSE 100!
When the 30% Club launched in November 2010, there were 21 all-male boards in the FTSE 100; the 99 Chairs that now make up the UK 30% Club have led a remarkable pace of change over the past 3 years in getting that number down to zero. The powerful combination of public policy and private sector actions in the UK has shown that the voluntary approach can have real and lasting impact – to the point where having an all-male board is now yesterday’s story.
The overall number of women on boards is continuing to rise as well. The proportion of female FTSE 100 board directors has risen from 12.5% in 2011 to 21.6% currently, and the ‘gap’ to reach Lord Davies’s target of 25% seats to be held by women by 2015 is now a mere 62 female appointments, with our target of 30% by the end of 2015 also within reach.
The FTSE 250 is also seeing strong improvements from a low base; less than a fifth of these boards are all-male, compared with over half at the end of 2010 and the pace of female FTSE-250 appointments has now overtaken the FTSE-100.
As the 30% Club expands globally, the idea of business-led change is being voiced and implemented in Hong Kong, the US, Canada and Ireland, with more countries set to follow. The UK experience has shown how business can help itself, and how rapid the progress can be once industry leaders are committed.