Women director percentage 'rises to record high'

Woman in silhouette The government wants FTSE 100 boards to have 25% female membership by 2015

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The percentage of women on the boards of the UK's 100 largest-listed companies has risen over the past year to a record 15.6%, a report has said.

This compares with 12.5% last March, according to the Cranfield School of Management.

The government has told FTSE 100 companies to have a minimum 25% of female directors by 2015 or else face possible measures.

The European Union recently threatened to legislate on the issue.

Its Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, said earlier this month that "self-regulation so far has not brought about satisfactory results" for women.

'Significant activity'

The Cranfield report on women in UK boardrooms is being published every six months, and comes in response to the recommendations put forward by Lord Davies in February last year.

Cranfield report co-author Susan Vinnicombe, said: "The past 12 months have seen a significant amount of global activity around diversifying boards.

"After a decade of incremental increases in the UK, we are pleased to be reporting improvements that are more substantive.

"If the momentum we have seen since Lord Davies' review continues we could achieve 30% women on boards in less than four years, which would be a terrific achievement."

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