Women account for more than a third of board members across the UK’s top 350 companies for the first time, new figures show – yet four in 10 of the businesses failed to reach the target.
Representation of women in the FTSE 350 has risen by 3.8% in the last year, but 19 of the FTSE 250 companies have just one female board member.
There is also one all-male board, though the figure has tumbled from 152 all-male boards in 2011.
The Hampton-Alexander Review in 2016 set a target for women to account for 33% of board members by the end of 2020.
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: “While I am pleased that the FTSE 350 as a whole has finally hit this historic landmark, more than 100 of the UK’s top companies have failed to meet the target.
“Research shows that diverse leadership teams are more innovative and make better decisions.
“As the UK economy continues to recover from coronavirus, increasing representation of women on boards represents a golden opportunity not only to rebuild, but build back better.”
Denise Wilson, chief executive of the Hampton Alexander Review, said: “Recognising the significant impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on all business activities, it is encouraging to see the number of women at the top of British business continue to increase.
“This confirms the UK’s business-led voluntary approach is working and the benefits of diversity are being recognised, with business seeking more than ever those with fresh energy, new ideas and diverse perspectives.”