Women Still Missing out on Fair Share of the Top Jobs

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), January 5, 2007 | Go to article overview

Women Still Missing out on Fair Share of the Top Jobs


Byline: By Molly Watson Western Mail

More than 30 years after the Sex Discrimination Act was introduced, women in Wales are still missing out on the top jobs. A report published today by the Equal Opportunities Commission described the pace of change as 'painfully slow', and said in some cases it is even going backwards.

According to the most recent figures, women make up only 10% of directors of FTSE 100 companies and barely 20% of Parliament.

Even in Wales, where gender equality has been achieved in the National Assembly, deep divides still exist within local government with, the EOC states, only two out of 22 councils being run by women.

Titled Sex and Power: Who Runs Britain? 2007, the annual survey looks at women in senior positions across the public and private sector. It found that despite the massive growth of women in work and public life, nearly 6,000 women are 'missing' from more than 33,000 top jobs.

Over the past year there has been a decline in the number of women holding top positions in the Army and the arts.

There was also no improvement in the number of women holding public appointments.

Ethnic minority women are especially under-represented, accounting for just 0.4% of directors in the top 100 firms and 0.3% of Parliamentarians, even though they make up 5.2% of the population.

Although 51.7% of AMs are women, the UK figure for MPs is only 19.5% and 25.6% of MEPs.

Figures published last year by EOC Wales revealed only two of the 22 local authorities in Wales had female chief executives and only 22% of local councillors were women. Out of 220 elected Cabinet and board roles in local government, only 24 of them were held by women.

The EOC said that to break the infamous 'glass ceiling' holding back women, thousands more female judges, senior police officers, council leaders, MPs, members of the House of Lords and company directors should be appointed.

Kate Bennett, director of the Equal Opportunities Commission in Wales, said, 'It is very disappointing that here in Wales, as in the rest of Britain, women are so poorly represented in the corridors of power.

'Thirty years after sex equality legislation, women continue to be excluded from the boardrooms and council chambers where decisions are taken. They are still more likely to be taking notes of the meeting or making the tea. …

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