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Employment solicitor Samantha Mangwana's reaction to Kate Swann leaving WH Smith- leaving only 3 female CEOs in FTSE 100

By Principal Lawyer, Employment & Partnership

It is always sad to see a woman leaving a senior position in a company, even more so when it leaves just three female CEOs in leading FTSE 100 companies.

The news is particularly dismal and disappointing in the wake of the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) trumpeting statistics which suggest progress in the past year. BIS argues that the current approach to boardroom balance is working, but the evidence just doesn’t stack up.

It’s not just the largest companies that are failing to appoint women to their top management positions. Data made public in August showed not one company in the FTSE 250 had appointed a woman executive in the last three months.

As an Employment Lawyer, day after day I see talented, successful and ambitious women forced out of their careers by employers with two-faced attitudes to the leading executives.

For women “having it all” is seen as either a myth or plain greedy, but for men having both families and a career is the norm.

On a case-by-case basis, we are able to secure justice in the form of pay-outs for these women, by exposing their employers’ shoddy practices and dirty little secrets. But cash is hardly adequate compensation for a career, even on an individial basis. As a big picture, it is not only phenomenally depressing, it’s also hamstringing us as a nation.

Until this country is so overflowing in growth and output that we can afford to overlook half the talent in the room, the gender gap will remain not just a moral issue but an economic one.

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