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Why Aren't There More Women on Boards?

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This is a question that has often crossed my mind, because, over the years, I've met and worked with so many capable and inspiring females.

I'm certain there are lots of women want to be on boards but somehow their talents have yet to be firmly recognised.

Sharon Glancy, founder of Women 1st, a network aimed at helping women get ahead in the business world feels it's because we are too reluctant to shout about our successes.

'Far too often, women are comfortable just doing a fabulous job - they don't want a pat on the back or public recognition for being an inspiration to others,' she says. 'This needs to change.'

That is why I'm particularly delighted to have been asked to join the panel of the Women 1st Conference on the 19th June in London. http://www.people1st.co.uk/business-and-training-support/women-1st/women-1st-conference-2012

The conference aims to empower women so they can be promoted to boards and build more successful careers.

Wellbeing of Women is also in the privileged position of being the chosen charity for the inaugural Women 1st Shine Awards, which will be hosted by our glamorous and very talented ambassador, TV presenter Emma Forbes.

The ceremony will celebrate the achievements of women across the travel, leisure and tourism industries. While critics (and hardened anti-feminists) may sneer, I believe events like this are increasingly relevant.

While women make up half of the UK workforce, a recent study by Cranfield School of Management revealed that we only make up 15% of board members in the FTSE 100.

Out of 190 new board appointments in the past year, 47 were to women, the research revealed.
Samuel Johar, chairman of head hunting firm Buchanan Harvey says:

'It's a supply issue. Companies have not historically mentored or trained women as they have progressed up their careers.'

If this is the case, then we surely need to learn to push (and I'm not talking childbirth this time!)
Arguably, we could also benefit from more visible female role models sharing their insights and experiences with the rest of us.

By popular demand, Wellbeing of Women aims to do its bit, hosting special interviews and lunches for our supporters with extraordinarily successful women.

Recently, Alexandra Shulman, editor of British Vogue, gave a riveting interview to our vice chair - former newspaper editor Eve Pollard - over a literary lunch at Fortnum and Mason.

Ms Shulman has been editing Vogue for a decade and substantially increased sales, which is no mean feat when you consider editors are lucky to get a five-year spree.

She's also found time to pen a debut novel, 'Can We Still Be Friends?' which is all about the tough choices women make in life.

Needless to say, our supporters had lots of enthusiastic questions for her. What I particularly liked is that despite editing a legendary fashion bible she remains very much an individual.

Of Anna Wintour, the perfectly-coiffed editor of American Vogue, she said:

'Anna is immaculate. I am not like that. I don't get my hair blow-dried twice a day. I made a decision not to be a clothes horse from the start. I couldn't have done it any other way. I couldn't have lived with the pressure to look perfect all the time. My hair can only be described as tousled at best.'

Another fabulous female who has just this week captivated our supporters is Michelle Feeney, the CEO of PZ Cussons Beauty.

Michelle was responsible for the overnight success of Creme de la Mer, and for growing the M.A.C cosmetic brand to the billion dollar phenomenon it is today.

There is no doubt that all who attended learnt a few lessons from her.

Guests were particularly struck by her openness, her focus on learning from every experience and her honesty. It really was a very special occasion.

We'd love to see you at one of our upcoming events and hopefully we can all feel empowered by the opportunity to support one another in our chosen paths, whatever they may be.