The Davies Review is a government-back commission, which was first introduced in 2010 to examine the underrepresentation of women on boards. Lord Davies of Abersoch, Minister of State for Trade, Investment and Small Business, spearheaded the review.
In 2011 Lord Davies released a ‘Women on Boards’ report which aimed to push the issue of gender equality forward and promote the cause amongst UK companies. In the report Lord Davies set the voluntary target of 25% women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies by the end of 2015.
The target of 25% was met and in October 2015 Lord Davies released his five-year summary of the report raising the target to 33% by 2020 on FTSE 350 boards.
The percentage of women in FTSE 100 boardrooms currently stands at 26.1%, but the UK is still seventh across the main international stock markets, behind Norway and France. There are currently only three female chairman throughout the FTSE 100. InterContinental Hotels and Unilever are the only company boards with an equal gender split.
The progress was made under a voluntary, business led framework, without Government or EU legislative intervention.
Foreword included in the Women on Boards 2011 report from Lord Davies
Corporate boards perform better when they include the best people who come from a range of perspectives and backgrounds.
The boardroom is where strategic decisions are made, governance applied and risk overseen. It is therefore imperative that boards are made up of competent high calibre individuals who together offer a mix of skills, experiences and backgrounds. Board appointments must always be made on merit, with the best qualified person getting the job. But, given the long record of women achieving the highest qualifications and leadership positions in many walks of life, the poor representation of women on boards, relative to their male counterparts, has raised questions about whether board recruitment is in practice based on skills, experience and performance. This report presents practical recommendations to address this imbalance.
During the course of this review some people told us that the only way we could make real change in increasing the number of women on boards was by introducing quotas. They said that other routes have already been tried, but women still remain a small minority on UK boards. Many other people told us that quotas would not be their preferred option as they did not want to see tokenism prevail. On balance the decision has been made not to recommend quotas. Government must reserve the right to introduce more prescriptive alternatives if the recommended business-led approach does not achieve significant change.
Latest News on Lord Davies review
In July 2015 it was announced that Lord Davie’s target of 25% of women on FTSE 100 boards was met and David Cameron that companies with over 250 employees would have to reveal the salary difference between men and women.
In October 2015 the Davies Review, set to establish wage targets for female FTSE 100 executives, in a bid to address pay inequalities.
Reports on Lord Davies review
Read the full Lord Davies Review – Women on Boards 2011