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Today EWSDGE asks questions at the Vodafone AGM

(28.07.2015) EWSDGE will be attending the Vodafone AGM today. According to the Davies Review 2015, Vodafone is currently in 31st place of the FTSE 100 companies with regard to female representation on their Board, with three females on its Board out of 12 members. This represents a 75-25 % male to female split. Although, according to the 2015 Annual Report, this figure is lower with the resignation of one member of the Board and two others not seeking re-appointment today (p. 60 Annual report). ‘Why is female representation on the Board at Vodafone decreasing?’

Professor Jones will ask the Chair of Vodafone:

  1. Can you elaborate on concrete and imminent plans for increasing posts (both executive and non-executive Board members) and how these posts will be incorporated into any actionable targets; and
  2. What is being done for women (especially diverse women) to meet your ‘merit and skills’ test and to progress women up the pipeline (in the equality/diversity sense) to ensure there are individuals ready and appointable at all levels of management, especially senior levels.

For example, the use of specialist recruitment firms that search out women with specialist knowledge of the industry, particular ethnic background, or special training within the company fast-tracking women for higher management roles.

  1. With a number of schemes in place, why is executive representation decreasing (p. 60 Annual report)?

BACKGROUND

Initiated by the German Women Lawyers Association (djb), the project “European Women Shareholders Demand Gender Equality” was awarded a grant in 2014 by the European Commission (together with 16 other European projects) under the PROGRESS program. It is co-funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), the Ministry for Justice and Equality of Saxony-Anhalt and the Finland Chamber of Commerce.

The project partners include, along with the djb, the four women lawyers organizations, European Women Lawyers Association (EWLA), EWLA Bulgaria, Association Française des femmes juristes, (AFFJ), Hungarian Women (Advocate) Lawyers Association, the Finland Chamber of Commerce and the University of West of England. The Ministry for Justice and Gender Equality of Saxony-Anhalt is hosting the closure event and the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences is responsible for evaluation.

The project connects with the German project “Women shareholders demand equality – Increase the number of women in management positions, especially on Supervisory Boards of German listed companies”, funded by the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ) and continues throughout Europe. In the course of the German project from 2009 to 2013 djb members as well as other shareholders have attended 300 annual general meetings of listed companies exercising their information right. The answers from the Supervisory and Executive boards to all questions on women in management position in the companies have been analysed and published in four studies.

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