5,000 Women Missing From Top British Jobs

imageResearch reveals gender imbalance will take 70 years to put right

Women are still frequently “passed over” for the UK’s most powerful jobs, according to new research that has found that 5,400 women are “missing” from Britain’s 26,000 top posts.
This disparity was revealed in the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report ‘Sex and Power 2011’ published this week.
Data analysts measured the number of women in positions of power and influence across 27 career categories in the public and private sectors.
The number of “missing” senior women was found by adding up all the senior posts held by men and women, then halving that figure to share the posts equally between the two sexes, minus the posts already held by women.
Further figures from the report show that more women are graduating from university and that they achieve better degree results than men. These women maintain equal career progression with men in their twenties, but they do not enter the ranks of management at the same rate, and many end up trapped in the layer below senior management.
Kay Carberry, a commissioner at the EHRC, said: “Many women disappear from the paid workforce after they have children, so employers lose their skills. Others become stuck in positions below senior management, leaving many feeling frustrated and unfulfilled. Consequently, the higher ranks of power in many organisations are still dominated by men.
“If Britain is to stage a strong recovery from its current economic situation, then we have to make sure we’re not wasting women’s skills and talents.”
Women make up only 12.5 per cent of directors of FTSE 100 companies and represent only 7.8 per cent of directors in FTSE 250 companies. This is a very small improvement on the figures from 2008, which were 11 per cent and 7.2 per cent respectively.
The EHRC has suggested that it will take about 70 years to reach a gender balance in these top jobs at the current rate of change.
Women in politics fared a little better but the picture is still far from equal. Just over a fifth of MPs are women (22.2 per cent up, from 19.3 per cent in 2008). But this representation drops to 17.4 per cent for the Cabinet – down from 26.1 per cent in 2008. Women make up 21.9 per cent of the House of Lords (up from 2008’s 19.7 per cent), while local government is less representative with only 13.2 per cent female council leaders (down from 14.3 per cent in 2008).
As for the public and voluntary sectors: only 12.9 per cent of senior members of the judiciary are female, as are 22.8 per cent of local authority chief executives, 35.5 per cent of head teachers of secondary schools and 14.3 per cent of university vice chancellors.
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