British PM hails progress on gender equality

09:58, March 09, 2010      

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday hailed the progress that has been made to improve gender equality over the past decade and set out measures to do more for women in Britain and abroad.

Brown said: "Today, on International Women's Day, we have the chance to recognize the achievements of Britain's women and to reflect on how far we've traveled together along the road to equality."

He said all state-owned companies in Britain will be required to increase the number of women on their boards over the next two years.

The Financial Reporting Council has also been asked to consider including a new principle in its governance code requiring companies to consider the diversity of their boards.

Brown said: "If we don't see a dramatic change in the composition of company boards in the future, we will need to consider taking more serious action to ensure companies recruit from the diverse pool of exceptional talent we have in Britain."

"And because I believe the public sector can and should set an example, I'm also making a new commitment that all state-owned companies will be required to increase the number of women on their boards over the next two years. Not through rigid quotas but by reaching out to successful women in all walks of life who have got a big contribution to make," he added.

Brown, who visited Afghanistan at the weekend, also highlighted work that has been done to improve the education and equality of women in the region, and Britain's role in creating a UN Gender Agency to ensure women's rights have top priority in global negotiations.

Source: Xinhua
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