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Shattering myths and glass ceilings: European Business Schools launch database of 'Board Ready Women'
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This week European Business Schools launched a 'Global Board Ready Women' searchable database of women who fulfil the strict criteria for corporate governance as defined by publicly listed companies and are well qualified and ready to go on boards. Universities and organisations that have joined the initiative have already identified more than 8,000 eligible candidates and since its launch earlier this week, the database administrators have been verifying over a hundred applications a day. As of today, 11 per cent of the database is made up of women located in the UK, with 8 per cent being from London.

    Commissioner  Viviane Reding

    Commissioner Viviane Reding

    Since the Lord Davies’ review and subsequent report, the number of women appointed to the boards of the UK’s top companies has reached unprecedented levels, with women now making up 16.7 per cent of FTSE 100, and 10.9 per cent of FTSE 250 boards, up from 12.5 per cent and 7.8 per cent respectively in 2010. The recommended target for listed companies in FTSE 100: 25 per cent by 2015 is applicable to all board members (executives and non-executives). While UK percentages have risen considerably, the highest increase is in non-executive positions which has reached 18.7 per cent, while executive positions have remained relatively low at 6.5 per cent and women CEOs at only 6 per cent.

    "We need to use all of our society’s talents to ensure that Europe’s economy takes off. That is why the European Commission has proposed a European law for boosting gender balance in company board rooms," said Vice-President Viviane Reding, EU Justice Commissioner. "I often hear the argument that there are not enough qualified women to occupy positions in the boardroom. Today European Business Schools are shattering those myths as well as glass ceilings! The searchable database shows that the qualified women are there. Companies should now make use of this untapped pool of talent."

    The "Global Board Ready Women" searchable database list and forum will be administered by the Financial Times Non-Executive Directors’ Club on the global business platform, LinkedIn. All women listed in the database are suitable to be considered for publicly listed company board-level positions and meet a clear set of criteria as developed and defined over the last year and a half by the organization members of the European Business Schools/Women on Board initiative.

    Every application to be part of this database has been formally assessed and reviewed and only those women who meet the criteria were accepted.  Participating Business Schools and Professional organizations have applied the same criteria for their participating Alumnae and Members.

    Notably, all women on the list have at least five years’ experience in one or more of the following roles:

    • Chair and/or NED of listed/private corporations
    • CEO, COO, CFO or other C-suite exec/director level in listed/private corporations
    • Family member and controlling shareholder of boards of large family companies
    • Director of government agencies
    • Director of non-profit orgs
    • Institutional investment community senior professional
    • Professional firms senior partner serving boards and their committees as clients
    • Entrepreneur


    In November 2012 the European Commission proposed legislation to improve gender balance on company boards based on merit and qualification. The proposed Directive sets a minimum objective of 40% by 2020 for members of the under-represented sex for non-executive members of the boards of publicly listed companies in Europe, or 2018 for listed public undertakings.

    The proposal also includes as a complementary measure a "flexi quota": an obligation for listed companies to set themselves individual, self-regulatory targets regarding the representation of both sexes among executive directors to be met by 2020 (or 2018 in the case of public undertakings).

    A report by the Commission in March 2012 showed that across the EU company boards are currently dominated by one gender. There are also big differences between countries, with women making up 27 per cent of board members in the largest Finnish companies and 26 per cent in Latvia, but only 3 per cent in Malta and 4 per cent in Cyprus. Progress is only visible in countries that have introduced legally binding laws for company boards. France, which introduced a legal quota in January 2011, accounts alone for more than 40 per cent of the total EU-wide change recorded between October 2010 and January 2012.

    For more information

    European Commission database on women and men in decision-making

    Press pack – Women on boards

    Department for Business, Innovation and Skills 

    Message by Viviane Reding on Board ready women

    Eurobarometer survey on gender equality

    Factsheets on gender equality:

    Gender Equality in the European Commission

    Gender Equality in the Member States

    For more information, please contact the London press office on 020 7973 1971.

    Annex: Members of the European Business School / Women On Boards Initiative

    Business Schools


    Cambridge Judge Business School


    EDHEC Business School

    EFMD – European Federation of Management Development


    ESSEC business school

    HR College of Commerce and Economics

    IAUW – International Association of University Women


    IFPM Female Board Pool at the University of St.Gallen



    Kellogg School of Management

    London Business School



    Sabanci University


    University of Mumbai

    Professional Organizations

    American Chamber of Commerce France and Spain

    Bellisario Foundation


    Business and Industry Advisory Council

    Canadian Women in Communications

    Deutscher Juristinnenbund e.V.

    EPWN (European Professional Women’s Network)

    Forte Foundation – Major Corporations and Business Schools

    The Financial Times Non-Executive Directors' Club


    GTWN - The Global Telecom Women’s Network

    GGI – Geneva Group International

    IFA Institut Francais des Administrateurs

    International Corporate Women Directors

    TIAW - The International Alliance for Women

    WiTT - Women in Telecoms and Technology

    WCD - Women Corporate Directors

    Women’s Forum of New York

    Corporate Women

    Lady Barbara Judge

    Bridget Cosgrave

    Lori Gonnu

    Cristina Vicini

    Lesley Stephenson

    Brigitte Boone

    Candace Johnson

    Audrey Mandela

    Diane Morgan

    Irene Navitividad

    Anne Negre

    Indu Shahani

    Susan Ness

    Marina Niforos

    Ingrid Silver

    Susan Stautberg

    Myla Villanueva

    Last update: 13/12/2012  |Top