Robert Lloyd Griffiths
With International Women’s Day taking place on Monday, it was timely news last week that the number of women on FTSE boards has risen by 50% in just five years and that more than a third (34.3%) of FTSE 350 board positions are now held by women.
These statistics represent the changing face of business; a culturally shift at the very highest levels of British business with boardrooms setting the standards for women’s representation in companies across the country. This is great progress but we cannot become complacent in building a society where everyone has an opportunity to get on and succeed.
As we look to build back better from the pandemic, it’s important businesses keep challenging themselves to use all the talents of our workforce and create opportunities for all. That’s about doing the right thing.
By supporting each other and by championing responsible business practices, we can make business more reflective of our changing society. It is our responsibility to fully-utilise a talent pool of women, men, young and old irrespective of colour, race or gender so that we can achieve equality. We have to support each other.
We know that diversity in the boardroom and throughout the organisation enhances strategic thinking and innovation yet it remains a work in progress for many organisations. This will be the topic of conversation at our IoD webinar on Monday 8th March when we will be profiling some of the very best women in Wales and the South West.
Our line-up of fantastic guest speakers and panel of leaders includes Rachel Clacher CBE, Co-Founder and Director at Moneypenny and Anneliese Reinhold. Based in Dubai, Anneliese is the General Counsel & SVP Legal Affairs/Legal & Regulatory Affairs with du, a major publicly listed telecoms operator. We will also be welcoming Sarah Soar, CEO for Hawksmoor Investment Management.
I know that Rachel will be speaking of how businesses and their leaders can take inclusivity and diversity learning from a successful charity. This is against the backdrop of a perfect storm – the pandemic, leaving the EU and tough economic climate. Anneliese will discuss her personal journey in terms of inclusivity and diversity and her role as Chair of the Association of Corporate Council which represents 45,000 members in 85 countries. Sarah will talk about her commitment to diversity and inclusion in the context of Hawksmoor Investment Management and its’ client base in an industry that is slowly waking up to the need for greater diversity. You can reserve your place at the event by emailing [email protected]
Here at the IoD, we are passionate about developing better directors for a better world. We know that inclusivity isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a must have. Diverse boards are more effective, and as a result are more likely to cultivate successful organisations. Furthermore, they are a key means by which we can build the trust and respect of wider society in UK business.
As the representative of a community of thousands of business leaders, the IoD is a leading advocate for increasing diversity on the boards of UK companies and as we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important therefore that we don’t let up in our efforts to get to grips with this issue.
Both numbers and mindsets are important: diversity without inclusion is an illusion.