Government reforms (2): Gender politics – new measures to help mind the gap

mock-employment-tribunalWhat do we already know?

In our March 2011 Newsletter we reported the publication of Lord Davies’ independent review of women on boards. This ‘Davies Report’ identified four key business reasons why companies must take the issue of having a diverse board seriously and made a number of recommendations to address the imbalance of women on boards. Since the Davies Report there have been annual progress reports making further recommendations.

What is new?

Following Lord Davies’ drive, mentioned above, to increase the number of women on the boards of British companies, Government statistics have revealed that there are now no all-male boards in the FTSE 100. Women now account for 22.8% of FTSE 100 overall board directorships. This is an increase from 20.7% in March 2014 and 12.5% in 2011. However, 61 of the FTSE 100 companies have not yet reached Lord Davies’ goal of 25% female representation by 2015.

As part of Lord Davies’ drive towards equality, on 5 November 2014 the Government announced a series of reforms. These include:

  • £2 million fund to be used in the development of a “training and mentoring programme of events for women”, aimed at women working in the science, technology, engineering, maths, retail and hospitality management and agricultural sectors;
  • publishing guidance to help women compare their pay with their male counterparts;
  • £50,000 to be put towards creating “further advice to enable female employees to hold their companies to account if they think they are not being paid correctly”; and
  • launching free pay analysis software so that companies can calculate their gender pay gap.