UK Companies ‘Failing’ To Tackle Boardroom Gender Diversity

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Many of the top companies in the United Kingdom — including JD Sports, pub owner Greene King, and Domino’s Pizza — are failing to tackle gender inequality in their boardrooms.

A recent letter from the Investment Association, a  financial trade body, and the review of the government-backed Hampton-Alexander criticised 69 firms on the FTSE 350 index for not working towards gender diversity targets.

The Hampton-Alexander review was set up by the government in 2016. It deals with corporate gender inequality and sets the targets for the largest firms in the United Kingdom.

The letter was also sent to TCB Bank and Sports Direct. It calls on the companies to meet the current target of the review of 33 percent of the executives of the company being women by 2020. It asks what the firms that have failed to make progress in the last year what steps they are taking in order to meet this goal.

Of the companies that were identified in the letter, 66 have just one woman employed at boardroom level. Three firms — property group Daejan Holdings, TR Property Investment Trust, and hotel chain Millennium & Copthorne Hotels — were called out for having all-male boards currently.

Copthorne Hotel split with Jennifer Fox, its only female CEO, last September, just three months after her appointment to the position. Shortly after, its last female executive also left the company.

Currently, women hold 29 percent of boardroom positions at FTSE 100 companies which means that as a whole, the top 100 firms of the United Kingdom are on track to meet the 33 percent target by 2020. However, women still only make up 25.5 percent of directors in the wider FTSE 350.

The review that was conducted by Hampton-Alexander called out 10 firms, including the Sports Direct of Mike Ashley since it has failed to make any progress in the more than two years since the target established.

These 10 firms include Stobart Group, Sports Direct, Daejan Holdings, Baillie Gifford Japan Trust, IntegraFin Holdings, Herald Investment Trust, On The Beach Group, JP Morgan Japanese Investment Trust, Ti Fluid Systems, and TBC Bank.