Call for introduction of compulsory gender quotas after figures showed appointments of women to senior management in manufacturing firms has stalled

Tim Lezard

wide congressThere is a call for the introduction of compulsory gender quotas on the boards of large companies, after figures showed the appointment of women to senior management in manufacturing firms has stalled.

A report for the Engineering Employers Federation found that almost half of all directorships in FTSE 100 companies went to women during the first six months of 2012, but that slowed to only a quarter of appointments in the second half of the year.

According to the research, by the Cranfield School of Management, women account for 23% of the workforce in manufacturing, but for only 19% of positions on the boards of the 29 manufacturing companies in the FTSE index.

Coalition ministers say they favour a voluntary approach to improving diversity among senior management in industry.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “While we welcome recent cross-party efforts to alter boardroom culture, this has not led to meaningful change.

“These figures make for depressing reading.

“The only way we will end the old boys’ network is if the government introduces compulsory quotas for the composition of boards, as recommended by the European Commission. Without this, female board members will continue to be a rarity.

“We will use our new share owner group, which has over £1bn of pension assets, to challenge poor corporate governance and call for greater diversity on boards.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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