Gender equality in politics continues to be a news story. In the UK, the leader of the opposition stated the Prime Minister was failing women. Four female MPs from the ruling party’s most recent intake have already made it clear they don’t want to stand again at the next election although they may not have explained exactly what it is about the way that UK politics works that makes them want to leave. Complaints of sexism (and indeed mockery of regional accents) in the House of Commons don’t come as a surprise to any of us who watch the debates on television or from the public gallery.
We’ve covered gender quotas on this blog before when two of Germany’s political parties reached a compromise over quotas. Similarly we’ve covered the representation of women at the top of businesses. The latest research suggests that not much is changing or improving.
The 2013 Catalyst Census: Fortune 500 Women Board Directors finds that there has been no change at all in the representation of women at a senior level in America’s top corporations:
- Women held only 16.9% of board seats in 2013—no change from last year
- In both 2012 and 2013, less than one-fifth of companies had 25% or more women directors
- 10% had no women serving on their boards.
- Less than one-quarter of companies had three or more women directors serving together in both 2012 and 2013.
In the UK, Spencer Stuart’s UK Board Index 2013 (available via this link) found that women account for just under 18% of the total directors in the UK’s top 150 companies – although this figure at least is climbing. In the last year, 38% of all newly appointed directors are women.
The latest figures for Europe (the EU-27 countries) show that women make up 16% of board members. The highest representations are in Finland (29.1%) and Latvia (29%). Although the number of companies with no women on the board has decreased from 35% in 2010 to 23% in 2013, there are still very few companies with women at the very top as CEOs. or Chair. All countries are falling far short of the EU’s 2020 40% representation objective.