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33% Women Membership In Board Of UK Companies By 2020 A Must, Says A Govt. Backed Review

33% Women Membership In Board Of UK Companies By 2020 A Must, Says A Govt. Backed Review
The Investment Association, a financial sector trade body, and the United Kingdom government supported Hampton-Alexander review urged the appointment of more women in the company boards of a large number of famous companies including names such as Domino's Pizza, JD Sports and Greene King. Letters to this effect were issued by the body to 69 companies informing them of the need for more induction of women board members.
The companies have been asked to include as much as 33 per cent women of the total number of board members of their companies by the year 2020.
A threat was also issued by the review to the companies that they would be branded as "red tops" which would act a warning for investors that these companies gave limited gender diversity in their company boards.
The review claimed that it was "unacceptable" that there was a lack of gender diversity among one in five of the biggest companies in the UK that are listed in the FTSE 350 index.
Among those companies with low gender diversity, 66 of the companies were identified to posses only one woman on their company board, while three companies - property investor Daejan Holdings, Millennium & Copthorne Hotels and TR Property Investment Trust - have only male directors in their company boards.
There are 250 members in the Investment Association which together manage £7.7 trillion assets. It is "unacceptable" that one in five of the UK's biggest companies are not very concerned apparently about closing down the gender gap, said its boss Chris Cummings.
"Companies must do more than take the tokenistic step of appointing just one woman to their board and consider that job done. There is also compelling evidence that boards with greater gender balance outperform their less diverse peers," he said.
The aim of setting up of the Hampton-Alexander review, commissioned by the UK government in 2016, was to address the issue of corporate gender inequality and set gender diversity targets for the largest companies in the country.
The fact that women were not appointed in desired numbers by companies in their boards and in leadership positions “does not reflect the population of very talented women capable of making great contributions in boardrooms", said Sir Philip Hampton, who chairs the review.
In those sectors where there are few women executive, there tends to be a greater disparity in gender pay gaps and therefore, the low number of women in executive positions can further slowdown the process of attaining gender pay parity, said Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the business select committee in the UK.
"The role of investors is important here too and they need to assert themselves to ensure that diversity is reflected more visibly at board level," she said.
St James's Place, 888 Holdings, Just Group, Acacia Mining, Stobart, Restaurant Group and Softcat, among others are the companies that have been mentioned in the list that only have one woman on their board.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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