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UK boardrooms need more women, says Vince Cable


Business secretary feels doing nothing “is not an option”

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UK business secretary Vince Cable has called for more women to be included on the boards of London-listed companies.

In a letter sent on Wednesday to seven FTSE 100 companies with no female representation on their boards, Cable queried what steps they were taking to increase diversity noting that "doing nothing is not an option".

A spokesperson for the Business Secretary said firms should aim to have at least one female director for every three male directors by 2015 but that he does not back “mandatory quotas”.

In his letter, Cable acknowledged that "real progress" had been made but "further action" was needed in the next couple of years.

"My vision by 2015 is that the UK will not have a single FTSE 100 board without a significant female presence. This is not about equality; this is about good governance and good business. International evidence supports this – diverse boards are better boards benefiting from fresh perspectives, opinions and new ideas which ultimately serve the company's long-term interests," he added.

The seven firms include Antofagasta, Croda, Glencore, Xstrata, Kazakhmys, Melrose and Vedanta.

Cable admitted that the said companies, which primarily operate in the natural resources sector, faced "challenges" in attracting more women. However, he added that “successful modern companies” learn to adapt and survive and “doing nothing is not an option anymore”.

The European Commission has suggested making it mandatory for EU companies to have 40 percent female directors on their boards, but the UK is among member nations opposed to the idea which could face legal complications. Other EU members Belgium, France, Spain and Italy have introduced quota laws of their own.

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UK boardrooms need more women, says Vince Cable
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