Gender diversity at board level is an ongoing discussion, but female representation is improving. From 2012 to 2020, the number of female directors working on the board of FTSE 100 companies increased by 3.4%, with women holding a 34.5% share of directorships in the UK by 2020.
UK-based Halma plc, an FTSE 100 company comprising nearly 50 small to medium-sized engineering and technology businesses, is trying to fast-track female representation at board level. The firm has an ambitious new target for all its company boards to be within a 40-60% gender-balanced range by the end of March 2024.
Halma has set the standard for its portfolio of companies to follow, with women accounting for 50% of its senior leadership team and its board being 67% female.
The new target will apply to over 200 senior professionals across more than 20 countries, highlighting the global impact Halma’s policy could have on gender equity in the still male-dominated STEM world.
Jennifer Ward, Halma Group Talent & Communications Director, commented on the new target and the firm’s progress on gender equity to date.
“We’re pleased with the progress we have made in recent years to achieve gender balance at the Group level. However, we want to challenge ourselves to do more and drive positive change across our entire portfolio of businesses around the world.
“We believe building inclusive businesses that reflect the communities in which we live and work is vital to achieving our purpose and accelerating the growth of our business.”
The 2024 target is part of Halma’s Sustainability Framework, which they announced earlier this year and is grounded in their purpose of “growing a safer, cleaner, healthier future for everyone every day.”
The framework also includes a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), battling climate change, and engaging in the circular economy.
Before the new target, Halma has worked to improve female representation at plc Board and Executive Board levels, which are now 48% and 67% female, respectively.
Existing initiatives across their portfolio include an inclusive leadership programme for all senior leaders, new talent acquisition practises to recruit and engage future female leaders in the STEM fields and flexible working options to attract more women.
These efforts have already produced tangible results, with gender balance improving on its company boards from 19% in 2020 to 23% this year.
This year, Halma was recognised by the non-profit association European Women on Boards as a gender diversity leader, ranking 8th out of 668 companies. Halma has also been a member of the 30% Club since 2017, a membership organisation that campaigns for at least 30% of board seats to be held by women.
To read about Halma’s sustainability work, click here.