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Age limits in the boardroom: Can they achieve gender diversity?
As Lord Davies reported in February 2011, at the current rate of change it will take over 70 years to achieve gender-balanced boardrooms in the UK (www.practicallaw.com/0-505-3069) (see box “Weblinks”). Almost a decade ago, the Higgs review of the role and effectiveness of non-executive directors called for greater diversity among board directors, but the response on this front has been poor. Given that encouragement has failed, it is no wonder that plans are afoot to prod listed companies into increasing the number of women on their boards.
In practice, it is difficult to see how companies will be able to achieve recommendations such as 25% female board representation for FTSE 100 companies by 2015, in light of the slow rate at which vacancies arise at that level. Could a possible solution be to introduce compulsory upper age limits for directors in order to force out older individuals, which would create space for new, possibly female, directors?
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