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Small UK firms trail big peers on female directors — poll

By AFP - Jun 16,2021 - Last updated at Jun 16,2021

LONDON — Britain's small listed companies are lagging behind their biggest counterparts when it comes to appointing female board members, a survey showed on Wednesday.

A report by Women on Boards UK showed that bigger progress had been made by the UK's top 350 listed companies than those below the threshold.

"While progress has been made over the past several years — much of this has been driven by the largest companies," noted Fiona Hathorn, chief executive of Women on Boards UK.

"To accelerate diversity and close the gender pay gap we must look beyond the FTSE 350 and ensure that every company in the FTSE All-Share [index] is held accountable to change."

Data on the 261 companies below the largest 350 companies showed that 54 per cent had all-male executive leadership teams.

That compares with eight per cent for the top 350.

"This report highlights that the job is far from done," said Hathorn.

The study looked at smaller companies — with a combined market value of £63 billion ($88 billion, 73 billion euros) — which "have a significant impact on the UK economy", she added.

It showed also that 48 per cent of the smaller firms had boards featuring one-third women, compared with 65 per cent for the top 350. 

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