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Women Hold 17% of FTSE-100 Directorships, Short of 25% Target

The number of directorships held by women at the 100 largest U.K. companies has risen to 17.3 percent, still short of the target of 25 percent by 2015 recommended in a government-commissioned report two years ago.

There are now 169 women holding 194 board seats at companies in the FTSE 100 Index, Cranfield University School of Management said in a report published today. The proportion of female directors is up from 15.6 percent last year. The number of companies with no women on their board has fallen to seven, and two thirds have more than one woman on their board.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said while he preferred a voluntary approach to increasing female representation, he would be prepared to act if progress slowed.

“Government continues to believe that a voluntary led approach is the best way forward,” he said in an e-mailed statement. “But today’s report also serves as a timely reminder to business that quotas are still a real possibility” unless the 25 percent target is met.

Burberry Group Plc had the highest female representation, with three women directors out of eight. It was also the only company in the FTSE 100 Index with two female executive directors. In the FTSE 250 Index, 73 percent of companies had women on boards, up from 54 percent last year.

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