Britain’s six-year push to increase the number of women in top management at financial firms is “stagnating” for the first time, a review for the finance ministry said on June 23. The ministry started its voluntary Women in Finance Charter in 2016 and over 400 firms have already signed up.
A review by the New Financial think tank said that 78% of signed-up firms are hitting or are on track to hit their targets, up 5% from 2021. The average size of female representation in senior management remained consistent at 33% last year compared with 2021, the review said.
Nearly half of the firms have pledged to have 40% of their boardroom comprising women. Women in Finance Champion Amanda Blanc, who is also chief executive of insurer Aviva, said:
“I am concerned to see progress stagnating. Frankly, up to now there has been too much tinkering at the edges and not enough fundamental change. There are some glimmers of hope with more ambitious targets being set and met. But for the sake of women, companies, and society, we’ve got to work quicker and harder.”
Signatories accept to encourage the progression of women into senior roles by establishing targets to boost diversity and publicly report on their progress. Britain’s financial services minister John Glen said in a statement:
“I welcome this year’s progress, but setting targets is just one part of the process – I am today calling on firms to double-down on their commitments and continue to deliver greater gender equality in the workplace.”
Pension Bee, American Express, and Yorkshire Building Society topped the list of 33 signatories that have hit their internal targets before the deadline. Thirty-one firms failed to meet their targets for last year, although 19 of them were close, giving reasons such as low turnover in senior management, restructuring, and COVID-19.