Chris Evans

28th September 2020

Plimsoll Analysis

Gender Equality - The Key to a Stronger Business in 2021

While the drive to increase female representation in executive roles has long been a talking point for successive governments and think-tanks alike, Plimsoll has, for the first time ever, identified the tangible, overwhelming benefit female directors bring to company performance.

The need for a re-alignment in Britain’s boardrooms has been thrown into sharp focus with Plimsoll’s latest assessments covering the UK’s 38 different sectors and their 1600 individual industries.

The findings from Plimsoll’s array of individual market studies show that in almost all sectors, the number of companies with a strong financial performance rating was higher when there was a female executive on the board.

Here are the 10 sectors of the UK economy where the presence of at least one female director has the most beneficial effect on company financial strength:


Mixed Gender Board
% rated Strong

All Male Board
% rated Strong
Professional Services 51% 41% 10%
Healthcare 45% 36% 9%
Media 47% 39% 8%
Scientific & Technical 57% 50% 7%
Publishing 44% 38% 6%
Legal 51% 45% 6%
Transport 42% 36% 6%
Food 45% 40% 5%
Metals 53% 48% 5%
Construction 52% 47% 5%

In the Professional Services market, the difference in performance between male-only and mixed gender boards is the starkest. 41% of companies in the sector with an all-male board were rated as strong by Plimsoll. That figure rockets up to 51% when there is a female presence on the board. 

Other sectors such as Healthcare and Media also followed the same pattern with a sizeable difference in the performance of companies when a female is involved in the decision making.

Gender equality is no longer a matter of levelling up, filling quotas and having some vague boasts to put on a corporate website or annual report. It simply makes excellent business sense. Companies with female directors do better than those with a male-only board.

Plimsoll will help you to spot the pockets of excellent performance in your industry, identify those falling behind and see the correlation between gender balance at companies in both groups. Using the proven Plimsoll Model, we measure the financial health and long-term prospects of the leading companies in each market. 

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