Business secretary Vince Cable and Lord Davies are today naming and shaming the 28 FTSE 250 companies that still have all male boards.
The pair have written to the chairmen of the 28 companies, which include pub group Enterprise Inns, sportswear chain JD Sports and miner Petra Diamonds, to warn them they are falling behind peers.
Lord Davies published a report into Women on Boards in 2011 and set a target that boards should be 25 per cent female by next year.
All FTSE 100 companies now have at least one female board member following the appointment of Canadian mining veteran Patrice Merrin as a non-executive at Glencore and Vivianne Blanlot as a non-executive director at Antofagasta earlier this year.
City grandee and former boss of Standard Chartered Lord Davies, added: “Having reached a position where it is unacceptable for the voice of women to be absent from the boardroom, it is disappointing to see there are still 28 all-male boards in the FTSE 250. Every single company needs to address the issue of gender balance in the boardroom and make sure they support UK business in our collective goal.”
The letter sent to the companies today calls for the gender diversity across FTSE company boards to improve in the next six months to meet targets and demands the 28 firms to appoint at least one woman to their board as well as set a date to meet the 25 per cent target.
The Women on Boards half yearly update today revealed that women make up 22.8 per cent of FTSE 100 boards in the UK – up from 20.7 per cent in March and 17.4 per cent across the mid cap index – up from 15.6 per cent six months earlier. Mr Cable said: “Although our target is in sight, we must keep up the momentum. All companies with fewer than 25 per cent of women on their board need to take firm action now to increase female representation.
He added: “Companies need to harness all available talent – better balanced boards are vital to securing the future competitiveness of UK”.
Mr Cable did not want to install quotas to improve the number of women at senior levels and decided that targets were a better option.
By Laura Chesters