1413 UK Women to Work on Education Boards by 2020 - 8% Increase!

3 years ago



Female representation on boards in universities is extremely low. According to the Guardian, women make up only 36% of university board and chair only 19% of the boards across the UK.  There has to be a change, so the Higher Education Funding Council for England wants to the number of women in English universities increased to reach 40% by 2020. As for Scotland,  all public boards educational facilities included were asked to incorporate 50% women by 2020.

Why is Diversifying Important?

Setting quotas is not the answer unless diversification policies are introduced nationwide. In the first place, recruitment practices have to change. Very often, the candidates from a narrow demographic are appointed to boards, no inclusivity involved. According to the recent survey conducted by the Leadership Foundation, over 50% of board vacancies are not publicly advertised.

Employment largely relies on the networks of board members offering suitable candidates. As board recruitment process can take some time, it is important to ensure the ambition of increasing women representation by 2020 will come to life. What can be done today?


  • More public job offer advertisement


Since 50% of board appointments are made sans public advertisement, accessibility and coverage of available vacancies have to be ensured. Very often, vacancy advertisement lacks visibility to candidates outside the higher education sector. Placing job ads on a central hub will facilitate inclusivity and accessibility to candidates from various backgrounds.


  • Job training


The survey conducted among the women who participated in the Leadership Foundation’s development program demonstrated that ¾ of respondents need additional support in getting the skills for the job. TIn this respect, board readiness programmes or apprenticeship schemes need to be introduced.


  • Thorough and inclusive headhunting


In particular cases, boards resort to the services of headhunters to search for candidates qualified for the job. Despite having to pay additional money to a third-party company, the headhunting firms reach a significantly larger pool of potential candidates.

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Any questions or propositions?