Which countries have the most women on boards? Norway, France and the United Kingdom

Jessica Morris
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Women comprise 22.8 per cent of British boards (Source: Getty)

The number of women on the boards of British companies has transformed from a mere smattering into a solid number in recent years, but how well is the UK doing compared to the rest of the world?

Britain came sixth out of 20 in a new international census, which looked at women on the boards of listed companies and was conducted by non-profit research organisation Catalyst.

With the UK's boards typically made up of 22.8 per cent women it ranks ahead of many European nations, as well as the United States and Hong Kong which also have stellar financial sectors. Britain has shied away from introducing a mandatory quota system and instead opting for softer targets.

In general, Europe led the way, and first prize went to Norway where the average board is made up of 35.5 per cent women. It's been boosted by the fact it became the first nation to introduce quotas - 40 per cent - back in 2003. Since then the likes of France, Spain and the Netherlands have followed suit.

"When you look at the countries in Europe, this is something people are thinking about and the business impact it can have," said Brande Stellings, vice president of corporate board services for catalyst.

Europe's worst performer was Portugal with just 7.9 per cent of women on boards. Ireland and Austria inched ahead (although only slightly) with just 10.3 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

The United States and Canada posted a middling performance with the make-up of women on boards at 19.2 per cent and 20.8 per cent respectively. Meanwhile, Asia lagged towards the bottom of the ranking, with Hong Kong, India and Japan all in the bottom four.

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