'Despite much lip service' women still underrepresented

Men still dominate politics, public life, sports, national newspapers and FTSE CEOs “despite much lip service about the importance of having women in top jobs.”

This is according to the 2020 Sex and Power Index published by the Fawcett Society, a women’s rights and equality charity.

The report found:

  • The supreme court has two female justices out of 12
  • One in 20 FTSE 100 CEOs are women
  • Females only represent 39 per cent of secondary headteachers and 30 per cent of university vice-chancellors
  • 21 per cent of women are national newspaper editors.
  • Only 4 per cent of Premier League football clubs are led by women
  • 36 per cent of trade union secretaries are women
  • Cabinet: 30 per cent are women and 47 per cent of the shadow cabinet.


Despite our last Prime Minister being a woman, there has only been an increase of 2 per cent of female MPs, with 34 per cent of MPs now being females.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society believe a way to alleviate this issue is to reduce the threshold for gender pay gap reporting to companies with 100 employees or more.

Mr Smethers said:

Despite much lip service about the importance of having women in top jobs, today’s data shows we are still generations away from achieving anything close to equality. We are wasting women’s talent and skills.

If we want change, we have to make it happen. That means quotas, targets and policy interventions to remove the barriers to women’s progression.

However, Helen Jamieson, founder of Jaluch HR disagrees with the notion of reducing the threshold for the gender pay gap.

Ms Jamieson said:

Driving reporting thresholds down is irrelevant if what we’re identifying is a lack of progress in the largest, most senior roles in the UK. For small businesses in particular it will be a pointless burden. If we want change we have to identify the root cause of our incredibly slow progress. Looking at the historical numbers without the context, without looking into the numerous and complex issues is unhelpful.

“If the approach to reporting is from the outset about damage limitation then no one is likely to learn anything as the focus is all wrong. Are most businesses able to rise above the damage limitation mindset to genuinely address issues? Yes there will be some, but I have no doubt that the individual advocates in business will waste huge energy fighting those on the board who continue to see the focus as nothing more than protection, control, damage limitation.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.