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Women still absent from the top jobs

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05/01/2007

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) has found that women are still absent from many of the UK’s top jobs, meaning that UK investment in the best possible professional performance, and economic return from this, is still falling far short of its potential.

Only 10% of the directors of the UK’s FTSE 100 firms are female, with only 20% of those in Parliament being women, the EOC notes in its report called ‘Sex and Power: Who Runs Britain 2007?’.

The report found that ethnic minority women are particularly badly under-represented, accounting for 0.4% of FTSE 100 directors and 0.3% of those in Parliament, despite comprising 5.2% of the population as a whole and 3.9% of the labour market.

As a UK investment in available skills this is seen as a waste by many commentators and it is forecast that at current rates it would take 60 years to have the same number of women as men at FTSE 100 firms, a rise from last year’s projection of 40 years.

By the same method of calculation it would take more than two decades to gain equality in the top tier of the civil service and more than double that to achieve an equal number of senior women in the judiciary.

Countries like Iran, Rwanda and Afghanistan all rank more highly than the UK in terms of representation of women in Parliament.

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