Half of companies in South West have female directors

Half of all companies in the South West have a female director on the board, according to new research.

The Women in Business report found that out of over 120,000 firms in the region, forty-four percent boast female representation at the directorial level.

Following closely, the South East claims 40% of directors with female representation, while the East Midlands follows suit with 39% of companies listing female directors. Despite these promising figures, gender equality in business leadership remains low in these regions.

At the other end of the table, London and the North West have the lowest rate of female directors, at 33% and 36% of companies including a female director.

The report also shows that male-owned businesses were more likely to go into insolvency in 2023 than those run by females, with 39% of companies more likely to become insolvent if their boards were male-dominated.

The number of companies which also have a female director on the board in the UK increased by 7% in 2023 compared to 2019. While the number of female directors had been steadily rising over the years, peaking in 2022, there was a slight decline in 2023.

This decline could be attributed to various factors, including economic conditions, shifts in government policies, or social influences, mirroring a similar trend observed in the number of business insolvencies during the same period.

Drew Fahiya, Creditsafe’s data director, points out that men might simply gravitate towards more risky business sectors:

“Our latest report shows that women are making steady progress in the boardroom, and in some regions and sectors they are starting to build up a real momentum.

“The South West are leading the way when it comes to female entrepreneurship, while other regions have some catching up to do to show the positive contribution women are making to British business at all levels.”

Drew added: “Though it’s not possible to prove that women are better at running businesses over men, there’s mounting evidence suggesting that companies with female board members experience advantages such as heightened profitability and reduced failure rates”.