Our story

Women on Boards is a purpose-led business working to increase diversity in executive and non-executive leadership.

Women on Boards was first established in Australia in 2006 by Ruth Medd and Claire Braund.  Launched in the UK in 2012, we exist to improve diversity in senior leadership. From an initial focus on supporting women into non-executive board roles, we have evolved to also work extensively with our corporate members on building inclusive cultures and providing diverse candidates for board searches.

We track our impact through the number of members who take on new board roles and are proud to be supporting one member a day (on average) into a board position. Our members are predominantly female, but highly diverse across other demographics and professional disciplines.

We work with many leading firms on their professional and leadership development strategies. Our organisational work is gender-neutral and fully intersectional, as we support leaders to create effective working cultures.

Our organisation is run by a small, friendly team. We work flexibly in a remote-first environment, promoting autonomy and collaboration. We are constituted as a limited company and the three UK founders are all still involved today, ensuring our purpose-driven approach. Having started life as a subsidiary of Women on Boards Australia, we are eternally grateful for the support they have given us over the years enabling us to become the successful organisation we are today and we look forward to continuing to share ideas and connections in the future.

board success a day
board vacancies
Corporate Partners
We were founded in the UK in 2012 by Fiona Hathorn, Rowena Ironside and Rachel Tranter.
We were inspired and practically supported by Women on Boards Australia, who set up after the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney shone a light on the lack of women on Sports boards.

Our founders, 10 years on

More about our UK founders

Click for full bios

Fiona Hathorn

CEO of WB Directors

Rowena Ironside

Founder and Non-executive Director

Rachel Tranter

WB Executive Director, Head of Bespoke Search


Board diversity in the UK

In 2011, the Davies Review found that women made up only 9.5% of members on the boards of FTSE 350 companies.  Subsequent UK monitoring of board diversity by the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review in 2016 reported 23% of FTSE 350 board members were female. Today that figure is 40%. 

This has largely been achieved through diversifying non-executive director positions. It is proof that business-led targets, with appropriate monitoring and scrutiny, can be effective in driving change.

Yet, there remains more to be done.  Diversity in executive teams remains low and outside the FTSE350, in smaller listed firms, there is less diversity.

We firmly believe talent and ambition are evenly distributed across genders, so positions of seniority should follow accordingly. There is also a significant body of evidence showing a strong correlation between diversity and better business outcomes.