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Why businesses are turning to gender diversity targets

22 / 10 / 2013
Companies are looking through a variety of tactics to speed recovery from the financial crisis, among the methods they are coming up with is ways they can work on employment processes. For this reason, businesses are considering methods to implement gender diversity targets.

Indeed, business secretary Vince Cable has set the FTSE 350 a target of having 25 per cent of their boardrooms represented by females by the year 2017. Recent statistics suggest this is making progress, with the number of female directors on the FTSE 100 having risen to 19 per cent.

Similarly, while the European Union has been creating measures to reduce risk within financial firms, one of the measures it has suggested is to implement enforced gender diversity targets that will be overseen by regulators.

Part of the reason why companies are seeking to increase the number of women on their boards, they say, is as a means of bringing in fresh talent and innovation. On an economic level, having more women in work may help to reduce the unemployment rate.

However, making a conscious effort to employ more women is only useful if it is ensured that they are appointed based on their talents rather than meeting a criteria.

Mr Cable explained that his target is not about simply showing greater gender diversity, stating: "This is about more talented women getting executive experience, so that they will not only advise, but run this country’s great companies."

Additionally, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of An Inspirational Journey, which was created to help talented women get into business, Heather Jackson suggested to HR Magazine that part of the reason why women may struggle to reach board level is due to other women.

She told the magazine: "Companies are now getting this and get the fact diversity works, so women need to take responsibility, build up their confidence and promote themselves in the way men do."

Ms Jackson explained that this is why Burberry CEO Angela Ahrendts, who will soon be moving to Apple, has proved to be successful, in that she proved her worth to the board of her company.