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FTSE 100 firms slow to promote women onto their boards

The UK's largest employers are failing to increase the number of women on their boards despite a Europe-wide push to get more women to top management positions, the latest figures from professional boards forum Boardwatch have revealed.

Boardwatch has been tracking the appointment of women to UK boards following the publication of Lord Davies's report in 2011.

Its latest figures showed that 17.3% of directors are currently women, only a marginal increase from August 2012, when the figure was 17.2%.

The figures showed that 86 more board seats need to be filled to reach the 25% by 2015 target set by Lord Davies.

There are still seven FTSE 100 companies with all-male boards, despite business secretary Vince Cable urging them to take action to increase the number of women in the boardroom earlier this year.

The figures did show that 34% of blue-chip board appointments in the last year have been women.

Overall female representation in the boardroom is up from 12.5% in 2010, before the Government made boardroom balance a priority.

The FTSE 100 has lost several high-profile female leaders in the last year, including Anglo American chief executive Cynthia Carroll and Pearson's Marjorie Scardino.

Jane Scott, who compiles the BoardWatch figures, said: "Overall 2012 showed good progress with FTSE 100 board positions rising from 15% to 17.4% and 27 companies achieving 25% women directors or above. But the very latest data reveals a plateau in the last quarter."