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77% of countries have less than 3 women on business boards, research finds

 The Knowledge Academy has investigated the importance of gender diversity in business, globally – and which countries throughout the world are blazing the trail for equality.


The Global Board Diversity Analysis report released by Egon Zehnder, of the 44 countries studied, found that there are 16 countries worldwide that can be labelled as diversity champions: Meaning they have achieved the critical mass of three female board directors on average.


France is the country leading the way for gender diversity – with an average 5.2% of women on business boards, swiftly followed by Germany (4.6%) and Italy (4.1%.) The UK arrives much further down the list, with an average of just 2.8%.

In total, nine of the 16 champion countries (including France and Germany) have now instituted a quota, where the government has mandated that public (and in some cases also private) companies must achieve a target percentage of females on boards by a specified date or else risk legislative consequences.


However, despite the benefits of diversity, global samples show that many countries have yet to make a start as illustrated by The Knowledge Academy’s findings. There are still 11 out of 44 countries (of those studied) where more than half of boards have zero female representation, such as Japan.


34 of the 44 countries, or 77%, have not reached the critical mass of at least three women per board, including Russia and Brazil. Moreover, there are as many as 15 countries that show negative progress, such as Turkey and Hungary.


Further research revealed the overall global ratio of male to female directors remains at three males to one female for board appointments and women’s presentation worldwide in executive roles is decidedly dismal – just under 4% for CEO’s and 10.5% for CFO’s.


In fact, in only six of the 44 countries examined do women hold more than 10% of CEO roles - these being; Colombia (20%), Israel (20%), Luxembourg (17%), Sweden (17%), Belgium (13%) and India (11%.)


David Baker, a spokesperson from The Knowledge Academy, commented, “Whilst the 16 countries labelled as ‘global diversity champions’ are a sure sign that change is taking place – progress is slow and often hindered. It would be remiss not to acknowledge and appreciate, the positive effect women have at every level of business.


“Globally; we must prioritise diversity to sustain – and maximise – our progress in the future. In doing so, it will only serve to benefit us all.” 

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