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Chief Operating Officer of Manchester-based networking company, recently hailed as one of the UK’s most forward-thinking companies, discusses women in the boardroom.

Karlie Jelly - In Touch Networks COO - spoke with Philip Hampsheir for the World Business Report, discussing the importance of women directors in the boardroom as California becomes the first State in the US to require companies to put female directors on their boards.

In the UK, just 29% of all board positions in FTSE 100 companies are held by women. Analysis of the world’s 500 biggest companies by market value (Bloomberg, September 2018) showed that while there is a global trend towards better representation for women at senior board level, 55 of the companies analysed had no female representation whatsoever at board level.

Last week, In Touch was named by the Financial Times as one of the 100 fast-growing UK companies that are making an impact on their industry and wider society. In Touch is one of only five on the list - and the only e-Commerce company - to be credited with the accolade of ‘all-rounder’ by making a positive social and environmental impact, addressing diversity, disrupting their sector and showing consistently fast revenue growth. 

We spent some time with Karlie to further talk about gender representation in the boardroom:

“It’s really important that with the growth we’ve achieved we step up to ensure subjects like this receive airtime. We’re working hard to lead by example, whether that’s through our inclusive policies or championing women directors in business.

“Our network grants us the opportunity to encourage positive change in boards across the country. For better representation, we need those already on the boards to agree. We’re working closely with our members to consider gender parity and wider equality alongside the many benefits they bring to institutions. Together we can work towards including these topics on a large volume of board agendas and cultivate real, tangible change.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve been named by the Financial Times as one of the top UK companies for diversity. Half of our senior management are women, and our exponential growth-rate evidences that working together is not only the right thing to do, but also best serves in the interests of businesses.

“Whether we differ by culture, gender, race, age, disability or one of the the other many factors that make our society so rich in the UK, when those with different experiences work together and problem-solve in the business world, it's the very nature of these perspectives that lead to a much broader level of insight.

“With a variety of solutions, you're far more likely to come across the best approach and naturally achieve better outcomes. The ability to choose both business success and gender equality should really be an easy choice for boards to make.”

Listen in to Karlie on the World Business Report (from 9 mins) by clicking here