SIGNIFICANT progress is being made to boost the number of women in the boardroom, although Yorkshire firms are lagging behind according to the latest Women on Boards data.
The survey showed that almost a quarter of all FTSE 100 board positions are now filled by women.
The latest annual report from Lord Davies of Abersoch shows that four years on from his original report, commissioned by Business Secretary Vince Cable, female representation has almost doubled to 23.5 per cent.
This is up from 20.7 per cent in March 2014, and 12.5 per cent in 2011. The 2015 goal is for women to make up 25 per cent of FTSE 100 boards.
Yorkshire’s two FTSE 100 constituents put in very different performances. Bradford-based grocer Morrisons outperformed with 33.3 per cent female representation, considerably higher than the 25 per cent figure it had in October 2014 and it now ranks in the top 10 FTSE 100 firms in gender diversity.
But York-based housebuilder Persimmon came in the bottom 10 with only 11.1 per cent of its board female.
Speaking at the launch of the survey, Mr Cable said: “We must celebrate this outstanding achievement and the change in culture that is taking hold at the heart of British business. The evidence is irrefutable: boards with a healthy female representation outperform their male-dominated rivals.”
He expects female representation to exceed a third by 2020.
Looking further afield to the FTSE 250 of mid-tier PLCs, women’s representation on boards increased to 18 per cent – up from 15.6 per cent in March 2014, and 7.8 per cent in 2011.
But Yorkshire firms lagged significantly behind their counterparts.
The star performers were Saltaire-based set-top box maker Pace and Bradford-based credit lender Provident Financial, both with a 28.6 per cent female board, comfortably beating the FTSE 250 average of 18 per cent.
North Yorkshire power producer Drax, which is led by chief executive Dorothy Thompson, beat the FTSE 250 average with a figure of 20 per cent.
But Wakefield-based retailer Card Factory, Hull-based sausage maker Cranswick, Sheffield-based insulation group SIG, Snaith-based natural chemicals company Croda International, Leeds-based electronics distributor Premier Farnell and Leeds-based credit lender International Personal Finance all have below the average number of women.