The UK Corporate Governance Code now states that “the search for board candidates should be conducted, and appointments made on merit against objective criteria and with due regard to the benefits of diversity on the board including gender”.   

Lord Davies’ report in February 2011 recommended that the Financial Reporting Council amend the Code to require listed companies to establish a boardroom diversity policy.  The FRC is now seeking views on whether changes are needed to the Code and when they should come into effect. The consultation ends on 29 July 2011.

The EU has also launched its equality strategy.  The Justice Commissioner has asked all companies to pledge to have at least 30% female board members by 2015 and 40% by 2020.  The Commission will review progress in March 2012.