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Time for women to take a stand?

The Two Percent Club, being launched today, comprises of a group of 500 of the most senior business women in the country. Photo: Press Association

Board rooms are too dominated by men in suits, women are often shut out, companies don't do enough to promote female staff, FTSE firms are guilty of woefully taking into consideration the talent of (just over) half the population.

None of those sentiments are new, ministers, business groups and bosses have spent years discussing and debating the problem and pondering the merits of introducing new rules, even quotas to change the make of the business top brass. Although studies suggest that companies with a more even representation of staff do better, progress is slow and for many firms, frankly it is not a priority at all.

Today though, a new voice enters the debate with the suggestion by a group of women, on behalf of all women, that those already in top jobs have to take more responsibility for changing the picture. Rather than relying on others, whether politicians or companies, it is time for a bit more self-reliance they argue.

The Two Percent Club, being launched today, a group of 500 of the most senior business women in the country, says: "It is time that these women stand up and be counted; that they take some responsibility for the issue of the under-representation of women at the top of corporate Britain".

Women in the country's top jobs are being urged to do more to help others get there too. Credit: Press Association

The group is staking out new ground by putting on record its view that women are not blameless in the situation and that those already in top jobs must do more to help others get there, trying to shift the focus from 'something must be done' to 'we must act'.

In a letter released today they say:

To date, everyone has been looking to Chairmen, Chief Executives, politicians and head-hunters to ensure that more talented women reach the top levels of corporate Britain. Until now there has been no push on what we, the women, can do to support and address this serious business and economic issue.

The Two Percent Club, ‘the voice of corporate women’, resolves to actively support companies, their leaders and their aspiring female talent, to achieve better balanced businesses. By pledging to be visible, to take responsibility and to drive this agenda forward alongside key stakeholders, we hope there will be no requirement for legislative quotas in Britain.

Alongside another high profile report from the Women's Business Council this week, there is no shortage of groups having their say on the UK's gender imbalance at the top of business. But while the Two Percent Group's message could prove controversial, it could prove effective in speeding up the paltry pace of change.