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Women now represented on every FTSE manufacturing board

Women now represented on every FTSE manufacturing board

A woman now sits on the board of every FTSE 100 manufacturer, according to UK’s manufacturers association Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) – but there is still much work to do.

Female representation is improving slowly at the highest levels of UK business, but few would disagree that there is plenty more work to do. Manufacturing is one of the industries that have faced difficulties in attracting female talent over the years, but new figures from industry organisation EEF suggest that women are now more fairly represented on the boards of major players in the sector.


In its second Women in Manufacturing report, EEF found that every FTSE 100 manufacturer now has at least one woman sitting on its board, and that females now account for 21 per cent of the total number of directorships among these firms.

While that may still sound low, it’s an improvement on the 19 per cent reported last year.

Top of the list was GlaxoSmithKline, with five women on its board – a third of its total number of directors. Another five women are on the board of Unilever, but given the smaller size of its board, this equates to 36 per cent female representation. Similarly, although Diageo has four women on its board the percentage is even higher – 44 per cent of the nine-person board are women.

Overall, the figures are generally encouraging, since 36 per cent of manufacturers now meet the target set by Lord Davies of having 25 percent of their boards consisting of women. Again the figure appears small, but as an increase from 31 per cent the previous year it shows that progress is being made.


EEF admits there is still much more to be done before targets can be met – targets which are arguably small steps along a long road to full equality.

In manufacturing, the organisation says firms need to work harder to get rid of misconceptions of the sector as “dirty and unglamorous” as well as taking better care of its talent.

“The message from this report is clear – manufacturers are heading in the right direction, but cannot afford to let up,” says Terry Scuoler, EEF chief executive.

“If our sector is to continue to thrive we need to be fishing from the entire talent pool and that means ensuring women have the right skills and opportunities and are represented at every level,” he added.


<Top image: National Retail Federation>

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