Stats and Facts on Women in Power

Although we represent over half of the population, there is a shocking absence of women in public life in the UK. The number of women in senior jobs in politics, the business world, the judiciary, education, the civil service and more has stagnated and, in some cases, even reversed in recent years. The exclusion of women from vital positions of power, which shape the society in which we live, represents a huge barrier to the progress of women’s equality in the UK.

Women and Power

–          Men outnumber women 4 to 1 in Westminster, and only 4 out of 23 cabinet ministers are women.

–          Progress on women’s representation in parliament is stalling; the number of women MPs has increased by just 4.1 per cent in the last 15 years.

–          Women’s exclusion from access to power in politics is echoed across public life:

–          In the world of finance, 17.3 per cent of Directors on FTSE 100 boards are women, and just 11.1 per cent of UK bank CEOs are women.

–          Amongst the judiciary, only 15.6 per cent of High Court Judges are women, and there is just one female Supreme Court Justice.

–          In the media, women represent just 5 per cent of the editors of national newspapers, and there are no female political editors amongst the national daily newspapers.

–          And just 13.7 per cent of police chief constables, 14.2 per cent of university Vice Chancellors and 27.6 per cent of television company directors are women.

Women and politics

–          The UK is ranked 57th in the world with regards to the number of women in national parliaments.

–          Men currently outnumber women 4 to 1 in Westminster.

–          At the current rate of change, a child born today will be drawing her pension before she sees equal numbers of men and women in the House of Commons. The EHRC estimates that it will take 14 general elections to achieve parity in Parliament.

–          The number of women MPs increased by just 2.5 per cent at the 2010 general election, and in the last 15 years, it has increased by only 4.1 per cent.

–          Currently 16 per cent of Conservative MPs are women, 32 per cent of Labour MPs and 12 per cent of Liberal Democrats.

–          Women make up 21.7 per cent of the House of Lords, which retains a systematic bias against women: none of the 26 bishops are, or can be, women, and only two of the 92 hereditary peers are women.

–          The Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly fare better, but progress is stalling. Following elections in Scotland and Wales women’s representation has marginally increased in Scotland from 33 per cent to 35.7 per cent,  in Wales it has declined from 47 per cent to 41.7 per cent.

–          Women constitute 32 per cent of elected councillors, but just 12.3 per cent of council leaders in England.

–          13.3 per cent of elected mayors and 14.6 per cent of police and crime commissioners are women.

–          Within broader government infrastructure, 36.4 per cent of public appointments – to government bodies or organizations, or independent public bodies – are women. Although 53 per cent of all Civil Service staff are female, there are only six women in post as Permanent Secretaries or equivalent (16.7 per cent), with women holding 31 per cent of all top management posts.

Women and business

–          Women are estimated to be responsible for about 70 per cent of household purchasing power, make up 46 per cent of the economically active workforce, and over half of university graduates.

–          Companies with more women on their boards were found to outperform their rivals with a 42 per cent higher return in sales, 66 per cent higher return on invested capital and 53% higher return on equity.

–          However, women’s average representation in the business world stands at a derisory 10.2 per cent,   and only 17.3 per cent of Directors in FTSE 100 boards are women.

–          Just 11.1 per cent of UK bank CEOs are women, and there are no women at all on the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee.

–          Women represent just 15 percent of members of Local Economic Partnerships and 25 percent of general secretaries of trade unions with membership in excess of 200,000.

Women in the professions


–          Whilst women represent 50.6% of magistrates in courts, just 15.6 per cent of High Court Judges are women, and there is only one female Supreme Court Justice, Baroness Hale.


–          In a typical month, 78 per cent of newspaper articles are written by men, 72 per cent of Question Time contributors are men and 84 per cent of reporters and guests on Radio 4’s Today programme are men.

–          Women represent just 5 per cent of the editors of national newspapers – or, in other words, there is only one woman, Dawn Neesom of the Daily Star, amongst the 20 editors of national newspapers. This represents a marked decline from 17.4 per cent in 2006. There are no female political editors amongst the national daily newspapers.

–          Women fare slightly better on TV, representing just over a quarter of TV news company directors. They also constitute 75 per cent of the top 20 magazine editors.


–          Women represent 28 per cent of directors of national and regional museums and galleries, 27.6 per cent of television company directors, and 31.8 per cent of national theatre company directors. However, there are no female television company CEOs or chairs.


–          Women represent 71.3% of primary school heads, 38.4% of secondary school heads and 14.2% of university Vice Chancellors.

Police and army

–          Women constitute 0 per cent of the highest three ranks in the Army, RAF and the Navy.

–          13.7 per cent of chief constables, 12.4 per cent of Chief Superintendents and 16.2 per cent of superintendents are women.

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