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Malcolm Hyde: We need more women leaders in business

By Malcolm Hyde, CBI South East regional director

The jury is no longer out – the case has been made about the importance of unlocking female talent to deliver UK economic prosperity.

Despite the significant progress made by the Davies Review, the number of FTSE 100 female executive directors still represents less than 10%.

Businesses need to look “beyond boards” to executive roles and do even more to help capable women progress from entry-level to senior management positions.

Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan
Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan

It’s important that we broaden the exam question and talk more widely about women as leaders – this is the real issue.

It’s fantastic that women are present in boardrooms in greater numbers including non-executive directors who approve strategy, are guardians of values, who challenge decisions and help manage risk.

However, there are just nine more female executive directors on FTSE 350 boards today than in 2010 and the number of female chief executives has barely moved.

We don’t have enough women running things and it is not getting better anything like fast enough.

Last October, Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan MP announced that a new review, with a new independent chair, would focus on the executive pipeline.

We would like to suggest they draw on the success of the Davies Review and establish a new voluntary target of 25% female senior executives in major UK companies.

Developing more women leaders will make a real difference to the success of the UK economy and the UK’s future place in the world.

In Kent we have some amazing women running and working in leadership roles in large and small, public and private organisations, generating wealth and prosperity for the region and beyond. Great leadership is going to be essential to the future success of the UK on the world stage.

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