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Female leadership from politics to the boardroom

Hilary Clinton

This month Hillary Clinton made history, becoming the first woman to be a major party’s nominee for President, almost 100 years since women were granted the right to vote.

Females in History

Hillary has officially cemented her place alongside some of the greatest female ‘firsts’ in history, and her reward is a potential seat at the world’s most powerful boardroom table.

Females in the Boardroom

From Emmeline Pankhurst to Rosa Parks, women have been fighting for equal rights for as long as it can be remembered, so why are we still fighting for them?

Hillary Clinton may be afforded the opportunity to run one of the most powerful countries in the world, but in business today, and more specifically in the UK, only 9.6% of Chief Executives at UK FTSE 100 companies are women, according to executive search firm MWM Consulting (2015 analysis).

Julia Kollewe, in an article for The Guardian, comments that “less than 10% of Chief Executive Officers at FTSE 100 companies are women.” That said, “there has been a major increase in female representation in Britain’s boardrooms over the past few years, with more than 30% of non-executive directorships at FTSE 100 companies now held by women” and, in addition, “the UK is second only to Sweden when it comes to the proportion of female chief executives at listed companies, with women holding the top job at 5.5% of FTSE 100 firms and 4.2% of FTSE 250 companies.”

In 2015, Lord Mervyn Davies published a report which approached the increased representation of women on FTSE 100 boards, and he set out the next step recommendations for further work in that area. Davies champions gender equality in the boardroom and his report evidences that UK women are finally breaking through the gender barrier at an executive level.

But the bottom line is: These numbers are still low. And unequal.

Females in the Future

When Hillary made history this month, there was one word that stuck in my mind: ‘Inspirational’. She might turn out to be the first woman to have played a role that has historically belonged to men.

Shouldn’t the most powerful companies in the world spread this message too?

Hopefully, one day, we will stop celebrating female ‘firsts’, primarily for the reason that it becomes the norm.

Jessica Isherwood – Research Associate

This article was also published on Pulse. If you’d like to comment, please do so here.


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