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Victory for diversity as all-male boards disappear from FTSE 350

Oscar Williams-Grut
·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·2-min read
Undated handout photo issued by Easyjet of their Chief Executive Carolyn McCall. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 5, 2016. Photo credit should read: Easyjet/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder. issued by Flybe of their logo. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday January 5, 2016. Photo credit should read: Easyjet/PA Wire
Carolyn McCall, chief executive of ITV. The 30% Club said there was still work to done in improving gender diversity within executive teams. Photo: Easyjet/PA Wire

Embargo: 8am 19 February Friday

Britain's 350 biggest listed companies have banished all-male boards, according to new data.

The 30% Club, which campaigns for gender diversity in global board rooms, said on Friday that there was now at least one woman on all the boards of FTSE 350 companies. Women make up 36% of all board members within the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) and FTSE 250 (^FTMC).

"The eradication of all-male boards across Britain’s 350 biggest companies is cause for celebration, particularly at a time when Covid-19 threatens progress in women’s equality," said Ann Cairns, global chair of the 30% Club and executive vice-chair of Mastercard.

"Time and again research has shown companies with diverse boardrooms and senior leadership outperform their peers. Simply put, diversity is good for business."

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Last year Severn Trent (SVT.L) became the first FTSE 100 company to have both a female CEO and chair. Admiral (ADM.L) followed as the second shortly after.

The London Stock Exchange briefly eradicated all-male boards last year but the feat only lasted for one month.

"There is still lots more work to be done to make sure all-male boards remain a thing of the past," Cairns said. "Last year’s fleeting experience of their disappearance across the FTSE 350 proves how fragile progress in the UK’s corporate gender diversity remains. And there’s even more work to do to bring female representation up to parity on those boards, let alone boost the numbers of female chairs, CEOs and CFOs."

Just 21.5% of senior executives of FTSE 350 companies are women, according to the 30% club. There are just 17 female chief executives across the 350 businesses and almost a third of all businesses still have all-male executive teams.

The 30% Club is also pushing for greater ethnic diversity on boards and in executive teams. Just 2.9% of board positions are held by women of colour, according to the group.

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