Call to get more women in boardroom


A business group has called for a national campaign to encourage more girls to study subjects such as technology and engineering under moves to increase the number of women on company boards.

A study by the EEF manufacturers' organisation found that the UK faced a "major challenge" increasing the number of women in industry in jobs such as engineers.

Of 29 manufacturing firms in the FTSE 100, women accounted for 19% of board positions, slightly higher than the average of 17% for all the companies, said the report.

GlaxoSmithKline topped a list of manufacturing firms, with five women on the board, a third of the total, followed by Diageo with four female directors out of 11.

Nine out of 10 engineers are male and just 20% of the manufacturing and engineering workforce is female, the research found.

The number of female engineers has increased by just 1% to 6% since 2008, compared with 26% in Sweden, 20% in Italy and 18% in Spain.

The EEF partly blamed the failure to encourage young women to study science-related topics, which it said had left half of UK state schools having no girls studying A-level physics.

EEF chief executive Terry Scuoler said: "There is no getting away from the fact that women are substantially under-represented in manufacturing at a time when industry needs to be tapping into every potential talent pool to access the skills it needs.

"Some will argue for quotas for women on boards but this would not address the underlying need for a substantial increase in the pipeline of women with engineering and other key skills going into industry. We need a huge national effort to make this happen and government, education, and industry itself all have a major role to play."

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