Prime Minister David Cameron wants more women to be in the top positions in business, and is even considering introducing a quota for British businesses unless they voluntarily appoint more board directors.

Travel companies actually employ more women than many other sectors, however, this is still falling short of the Government’s ideal, which is for one in four directors of the FTSE 100 to be women by 2015.

Cameron said he thought there is a “positive link” between women in top jobs and business performance – with wider repercussions for the whole economy. He went to Sweden to see the positive effects of women in top positions in business and said that the┬áScandinavian countries have taken pioneering ways to encourage more women into these top roles. 25% of big business board positions in Sweden go to women, with 40% in Norway as a legal minimum requirement. Currently the figure is only 15% in Britain.

IAG (parent company of British Airways) is listed in the FTSE 100 index, and has three women on its board of 14, putting it within the government’s target.

Easyjet, a FTSE 350 business, has only two women on its board of 10, including chief executive Carolyn McCall. The other is non-executive director Adele Anderson.

This week, Thomas Cook, trading as a FTSE All-Share company, appointed a second female non-executive director, Martine Verluyten, which puts the company within the target.


What do you think of the possibility of legal quotas for women in business? Is it fair or just necessary to redress the balance?