Our story

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

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

We exist to improve diversity in senior leadership. Whilst still pursuing our initial focus on supporting women into non-executive board roles, we have evolved to also work extensively with our corporate partners on supporting diverse talent to reach their potential and building inclusive cultures.

Our Women on Boards membership network of thousands is predominantly female, and highly diverse across other demographics and professional disciplines. We are proud to be supporting one member a day (on average) into a board position, and work with recruiting boards to provide diverse candidates for board searches from our network through our Bespoke NED Search service.

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

board success a day
board vacancies
Corporate Partners

More about our board

Click for full bios

John Dembitz

Non-Executive Chair of WB Directors and portfolio NED

Fiona Hathorn

CEO of WB Directors

Rowena Ironside

Founder and Non-executive Director

Rachel Tranter

WB Executive Director, Head of Bespoke Search

Victoria Kemble

MD, Finance & Operations

Gail Emerson

Director of Membership & Marketing


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.