Vince Cable: top firms accept they must tap into female talent

Feb 18, 2013

Business Sec goes after companies without women as Cameron admits 'we need females in cabinet'

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TOP FIRMS with no women on the board accept they have to "tap into" female talent, Business Secretary Vince Cable has claimed. His comments come after he wrote to the seven FSTE 100 companies which still have all-male boards last month to warn "doing nothing is not an option".

Cable told the Financial Mail on Sunday that mining company Xstrata and chemical firm Croda had already replied, promising they were "developing initiatives" to appoint female directors. Five other firms, mining companies Antofagasta, Glencore, Kazakhmys, and Vedanta as well as investment group Melrose, have not yet replied to the Business Secretary's letter from 30 January.

The Liberal Democrat MP said he believed companies were "on the way" to a quarter of boardroom seats being filled by women by 2015 - a target set out in 2011 by the Davies review. "There is now an acceptance in big business that they have to tap into the female population. There is a lot of talent that they've never utilised and doing so makes for better companies," he said.

Cable's comments come as David Cameron admitted he had not promoted enough women to the top levels of government. Speaking during a question and answer session in Mumbai, India, the prime minister revealed his wife Samantha had told him he should promote more females to Cabinet.

"My wife likes to say that if you don't have women in 50 per cent of top positions, you are not missing out on 50 per cent of the talent, you are missing out on more than 50 per cent of the talent and I think she's right", he said, according to the Daily Telegraph.

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