A new report has suggested that gender parity at senior executive level and above has been set back by 4 years due to the Covid pandemic. It is now expected that the number of women in senior roles at FTSE 350 companies will lag behind men until 2036.
The Women Count 2021 report has identified only 15 female chief executives in the country's top 350 companies, just over 4%.
This is especially disappointing after the #MeToo movement highlighted the challenges facing women in business and employers stepped up and spoke out against not only harassment, but gender bias at all levels.
The global pandemic has afforded businesses a once in a generation opportunity to review its workplace structures, practices and pathways to promotion. Moving away from a focus on office presenteeism and a greater shared awareness of household responsibilities was expected to provide a catalyst for a flexible and agile working revolution.
Time will tell whether that will be the case, but this report should act as a wake-up call to companies who are publicly celebrating diversity and inclusion, but not yet achieving it within their own workplaces.
The report found that 85% of all executives on main boards are men, and 78% of all executive committee roles are male. Women make up more than half of executive committees and boards at just 4% of FTSE 350 companies.