Permitted positive action
In practice, how can companies use general positive action measures in a lawful way?
Where the conditions for general positive action have been satisfied, it is lawful for companies to take a range of actions to encourage or enable women to be appointed to boards.
This can include:
- reserving places for women on training courses in board leadership
- targeting networking opportunities for women
- providing mentoring and sponsor programmes, which assist in the development of female talent.
- offering opportunities to women to shadow existing board members and/or observe board proceedings
- placing advertisements where women are likely to read them and encouraging a pipeline of applicants, and
- setting aspirational targets for increasing the number of women on boards within a particular timescale.
Appointments to Boards and UK Equality Law
What is the aim of this publication?
This publication aims to provide guidance on the equality law framework within which
appointments to boards must be made.
Who is it for?
This guide is intended for companies, nomination committees, search firms and
recruitment agencies in England, Scotland and Wales.
What is inside?
- This guide covers:
- The Equality Act 2010 and board appointments
- Liability of companies and their agents
- Preventing discrimination in making board appointments
- Direct and indirect sex discrimination
- Relevant European Union law and the proposed EU directive
- Positive action steps a company can take
- Tie-break provisions in relation to board appointments
- All-women longlists and shortlists
- Political parties
- Targets and quotas
- Legal requirements of companies to report board representation
When was it published?
The Appointments to Boards guide was published in July 2014.
Why has the Commission produced it?
The Equality and Human Rights Commission promotes and enforces the laws that
protect our rights to fairness, dignity and respect.
Appointments to Boards and Equality Law
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