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Eversheds: Female representation in boardrooms

Category: Industry News, female, legal, boardroom, eversheds

Eversheds: Female representation in boardrooms

UK politicians and employers increasingly behind greater female representation in boardrooms.

Commenting on news that Britain has ranked ninth in a study determining global female economic power, Naeema Choudry, partner at law firm Eversheds, says:

“There are signs that the political parties, as well as employers, have been motivated to generate change since the period covered report on the 9 April 2015.

“Just last month, the Davies Report found an increase in the number of women on FTSE boards, the aim of the current Government being representation of 25% by the end of this year. Nonetheless, companies cannot afford to be complacent. The EU Commission thinks listed companies should be aiming for at least 40% female representation amongst non-executive directors and has proposed a new regime that would force companies falling short of the target to select a woman for a vacancy in preference to a man, when faced with a choice between equally qualified candidates. However, those responsible for today’s report point out that although quotas can help to get women onto boards, they don’t really help to keep them there. The EU Commission’s proposal would also leave companies with a legal minefield to navigate, having to tread a fine and imprecise line between complying with the new requirements and avoiding sex discrimination against male candidates.

"Although the UK is one of a number of member states opposing the Commission’s plans on boardroom representation, steps have been taken in this country recently to target another aspect of gender inequality, namely that of pay. The UK Parliament passed an Act last month that will compel the new, post-election government to introduce new rules by March 2016 requiring larger employers in the private and third sector to publish details of their gender pay gap i.e. the difference in pay between male and female employees. Before being exposed to public scrutiny, employers will need to make sure they can manage and present information meaningfully and in context. That means reviewing and understanding pay practices across the organisation, so that those responsible for reporting on pay gaps are able to explain any differentials which may exist."

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