Fewer than 1 in 4 Directors are Women

Fewer than 1 in 4 Directors are Women

19th November 2010

Fewer than a quarter of company directors are women, despite a widespread belief that gender equality at work has improved, new research has found.

Data compiled in October by online credit-checking company Creditsafe found that 76% of limited company directors in the UK are male and 32% of company boards are made up entirely of men. The survey analysed more than 2 million companies.

“Despite living in a society which is more equal than ever, women still have to choose – usually at crucial points of their career – to take a break to have children,” said Creditsafe marketing manager, Rachael Marking.

“Women need more support within the workplace to feel that they can return and step back into a role that can take them to director status,” she added. “We need to look at the barriers that are preventing women reaching the upper echelons of limited companies and break them down.”

Founder of online female entrepreneurs’ network Women Unlimited, Julie Hall, agreed that women need more support at work, and questioned why more female directors are not making it to board level.

“Women are not groomed in the same way as men and don’t get the same mentoring support that men do,” she said.

“Many women get to a certain level within their organisation, realise it’s not for them and opt out of senior corporate roles,” added Hall. “They are choosing to take on consultancy and non-executive director roles with smaller companies where they have more impact.

“Women are still the main carers in our society and it is difficult to put in the hours required to excel in a senior position when there are children at home,” she said. “I would also be interested to know how many female directors are mothers.”

Founder of small business and online clothing retailer Love it love it love it, Ruth Lopardo, said:

“I don’t think there are any physical or financial difficulties that women face that men don’t face too.”

“But because I’m a woman – and mother – people expect my business to be on a small scale, with limited ambition. However, I used to be a management consultant and I found it much more difficult to battle against assumptions in terms of promotion and progression in that environment. Business-support agencies, such as Business Link, provide specific support aimed at women which I found really helpful.”

Fewer than 1 in 4 Directors are Women

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