Amid news that the European commission is to push for quotas for women on boards to address the slow progress of gender equality, we take a fresh look at diversity in the boardroom. In a report published earlier this year, Deloitte tracked the efforts of 64 countries to promote gender diversity in the boardroom. Unsurprisingly, women are still largely underrepresented on company boards across the world, with the UK in 12th place (after an increase from 2015 figures of 15 per cent representation, to 20 per cent). The global average is currently 15 per cent, up from 12 per cent in 2015.
Bottom of the list is the United Arab Emirates on two per cent while Norway comes out top with 42 per cent (Norway introduced quotas as early as 2003). Other countries that score highly include France on 33 per cent and Sweden on 32 per cent. A quota system became effective in France in January 2017 while, notably, there are no legislative quotas in Sweden. New Zealand has seen the fastest growth with a 10 per cent increase over the last two years to a current 27.5 percent.
In some other interesting statistics, the report finds that in organisations with female leadership, board gender diversity is double that of companies led by men. So in companies with a female CEO 29 per cent of board positions are held by women, compared to only 15 per cent in companies with a male CEO. Although the number of organisations led by women is still low, these figures indicate that diversity and inclusion on boards is likely to accelerate as the number of companies with female leadership – hopefully – continues to grow. The figures also help bust the long held myth that senior women leaders pull up the career ladder behind them.
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