Boardroom opportunities check out for women in retail

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Boardroom opportunities check out for women in retail

The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ latest view of Women in the Boardroom shows there has been growing recognition for the benefits gained by business, the economy and society by appointing more women to decision-making roles within business.

The report showed that 15% of FTSE board directors were female, an increase of 2.5% from 2009, indicating that more women had a seat at the boardroom table than in the past. In the retail sector, based on analysis of board level representation at the seven retailers within FTSE 100, of the 94 board positions available, 27% were held by female executives, representing a 5% growth in representation. These figures illustrate that the retail sector has a higher representation of women than generally seen across business and echoes the general increase in the number of women who are now holding the most senior positions.

The BIS report provides encouraging evidence that boardrooms are becoming more reflective of our society and its great to see the retail sector is helping to lead the change. I believe that Retail is a fantastic industry for women to develop their careers and is a real meritocracy, but leadership roles outside of the retail fashion sector continue to be male dominated. In fashion we see exceptional female retailers such as Angela Arendt’s at Burberry, Jane Shepherdson at Whistles, Nicky Dulieu from Hobbs and White Stuff’s Sally Bailey at the helm, but there are only a limited number of female CEO’s across the wider retail sector, and indeed WHSmith’s Kate Swann is the only woman heading up a FTSE listed retail business.

The release of the latest Women on Boards data also coincided with the opening of nominations for the everywomen in retail awards, the annual event which recognises outstanding female retailing talent. It’s an event which court & spark has supported for a number of years and we’re already looking to paying tribute to some of retail’s brightest stars at the glitzy event in September – so we hope to see you there.