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Cath Everett

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More women taking senior civil service roles


As the heads of some of the UK’s largest companies backed an initiative to increase the proportion of females at board level to 30%, it emerged that the number of women in senior civil service positions grew slightly this year to just over a third.

The founding members of ‘The 30% Club’ have set the “aspirational” target of boosting female representation at board level to 30% by 2015, but have not set planned quotas and do not intend to introduce women-only shortlists, according to the Financial Times.
The initiative set up by Helena Morrissey, chief executive of Newton Investment Management, has the aim of trying to improve the gender balance on company boards because she claims that it not only encourages better leadership and governance, but also contributes to all round board performance.
According to Cranfield University’s School of Management, women made up only 12.2% of directors at FTSE 100 companies in 2009 and only 7.3% in FTSE 250 firms, with nearly half having no women in the boardroom at all.
The scheme is being spearheaded by Sir Win Bishoff, chairman of Lloyds Banking Group, and Roger Carr, chairman of Centrica, but other founding members comprise the chairmen of HSBC Holdings, J Sainsbury, Aviva and the UK units of KPMG International and Deloitte & Touche.
Carr said: “Women win board positions on merit but add value to the role with a different mindset, a different set of skills and a different style. Boards are intellectually and socially enriched by the presence of women and consistently more effective through balanced judgement and opinion in decision-making.”
The news came as official figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that, while women remained in a minority in middle-ranking civil service positions, they now hold 34% of senior management posts, up from 33% last year.
About 53% of the 527,000 civil servants in the UK are women, unchanged from last year, but those working full-time are paid an average of 13% less than their male equivalents. The pay gap for part-time staff increased this year from 5% to 12%, however.


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