The debate surrounding women in the boardroom has long been at the top of the HR Agenda and we’re keen to get to the route of the issue. Cranfield International Centre for Women Leaders has just released its latest research, which found that over the last six months, levels of FTSE 100 board appointments going to women have dropped significantly.

Having initially seen numbers pick up this time last year – with 44% of new FTSE 100 board appointments going to women and 36% on FTSE 250 companies – this momentum was short lived. Over the past six months they have dropped to 26% and 29% respectively, showing a considerable gap from the 33% required to reach Lord Davies’ recommendation of 25% women on boards by 2015.

It’s not really surprising to see a loss in momentum. This isn’t just a numbers game and when we drill down to the challenge, we find a need to build resilience in female leaders to help support their development and progression.  Recent research by Canada’s McGill University, ‘Do Women Choose Different Jobs from Men,’ found that some females are simply taking themselves out of the running for certain jobs, and this is partly due to a perceived assumption that they may be unsuccessful.

Self-belief is one of a&dc’s key characteristics of resilience and, in order to achieve a high score on this scale, an individual would need to have confidence in their ability to address obstacles that they encounter in their work environment.  In order to see more women on the board, businesses need to encourage the development of this scale of resilience so that females believe in themselves much more. With greater self-belief, women will become less reluctant to put themselves forward for positions, which will be of benefit both to them and the business environment.

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