Women's representation

The proportion of women in politics, public appointments and on the boards of companies.

Women’s representation

  • 51 per cent of the population are women
  • 5.6 per cent of the population are Black, Asian and minority ethnic women (source ONS Experimental 2007 Population Estimates by Ethnic Group. It is estimated that the percentage of females that define themselves outside the categories of 'White British', 'White Irish' and White Other' is 5.56 percent of the total population of England and Wales.)
  • 10 per cent of the population are disabled women

Women in politics

Key facts

  • 22.2 per cent members of parliament are women (source Parliament website as at March 2011)
  • 1.2 per cent of MPs are Black, Asian and minority ethnic women (Data on the ethnicity of Members of Parliament is not routinely collected. This figure is based on information in the public domain)
  • 0.3 per cent of MPs are out lesbian (Data on the sexual orientation of Members of Parliament is not routinely collected. This figure is based on information in the public domain)
  • 30.8 per cent of local councillors in England are women (source National Census of Local Authority Councillors 2008)
  • 0.8 per cent of local councillors in England are Black, Asian and minority ethnic women (source National Census of Local Authority Councillors 2008)
  • 46.7 per cent of Welsh Assembly members are women (source Welsh Assembly Government  as at March 2011)
  • 34.8 per cent of Scottish Parliament members are women (source Scottish Government as at March 2011)
  • 13.8 per cent of Northern Ireland Assembly members are women (source Northern Ireland Website as at March 2011)
  • 31.9 per cent of UK members of the European Parliament are women (source UK Office of the European Parliament website as at March 2011)

UK position in Europe and Internationally

  • The UK is now placed 50th out of 188 countries world wide in the national league table of women’s representation in Parliament and 12th out of 27 countries in the European Union. (Inter-Parliamentary Union website. The IPU is the international organisation of parliaments established in 1889. It provides comparative data on the percentage of women in each national parliament.)

Women in public appointments

Key facts

  • 32.6 per cent of public appointments are held by women Inter-Parliamentary Union website.  (source Cabinet Office Public Bodies 2009)
  • 50 per cent aspirational target for new public appointments to be held by women by 2015 (source: The Equality Strategy – Building a fairer Britain 2010. The Government has set a new aspiration that by 2015, 50 per cent of new public appointments to public boards will be women.)
  • 6.9 per cent of public appointments were held by members  of minority ethnic groups.  Of these, around 38 per cent were women
  • 3.5 per cent of public appointments were held by disabled people. Of these, around  37 per cent were women

Women on boards

Key facts

  • 12.5 per cent of directors in FTSE 100 companies are women (source Female FTSE Report 2010)
  • 13 per cent of newly appointed FTSE 100 directors are women (source Female FTSE Report 2010)
  • 21 per cent of FTSE 100 companies with exclusively male boards (source Female FTSE Report 2010)
  • 7.8 per cent of directors in FTSE 250 companies are women (source Female FTSE Report 2010)
  • 5.5 per cent of FTSE 100 directors are from ethnic minority backgrounds (source Female FTSE Report 2010)
  • 5.5 per cent of FTSE 100 Executive Directors are women (source Female FTSE Report 2010)
  • 15.6 per cent of FTSE 100 non executive directors are female (source Female FTSE Report 2010)

Women in the public sector

Key facts

  •  50 per centof permanent secretaries in the Civil Service are women (source The Guardian 4 March 2011)
  • 26.7 per centof women in top 200 for Civil Service (source Cabinet Office as at 31 March 2010)
  • 21.3 per cent of local authority chief executives are women (source JNCs for Chief Executives and Chief Officers annual surveys 2009 for CE’s in England and Wales. Data includes directors and chief officers who report directly to the chief executive.)
  • 14.3 per cent of senior police officers are women (source Home Office Statistics, Police Service Strength as at 31 March 2010 for Chief Inspector and above)
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