New report finds drop in female representation on social investment boards

14 January 2019

A report has been released that reveals that the representation of women has fallen by -5% since 2017 within the growing social investment sector, with Black Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) women the least likely to hold directorship in the sector, accounting for just 16 (or 2.8%) of all Board Directors.

The report – Inclusive Impact – is written by recruitment agency Inclusive Boards and commissioned by The Diversity Forum with the support from The Connect Fund, also shows that almost one in five Board directors (18%) in the sector attended Oxford or Cambridge universities. This compares to just 1% of the whole population.

Danyal Sattar, CEO, Big Issue Invest said:

“We welcome the findings of this report and hope this helps refocus attention. I believe the solutions are within our grasp. If the rest of commerce do not want the brightest and the best, we’ll have them, thank you very much.”

Bonnie Chiu, Managing Director, The Social Investment Consultancy and Board Executive of The Diversity Forum said:

“2018 was the start of the #MeToo era and we saw a lot of progress for women. But this report highlights that progress towards diversity ebbs and flows. We cannot take progress for granted and the social investment sector needs more concerted efforts to achieve inclusion.”

The research also found that:

  • There has been a 2% increase in female representation at Executive level since 2017
  • BAME senior managers and execs are younger on average compared to their white colleagues, with a higher distribution for those in their late thirties and early forties. The average age is 49 years old
  • Female Board members were more likely to have a background from the charity sector.

The UK is home to the world’s fastest growing social investment market and has been building up its reputation as having one of the world’s most developed social economies. In 2017, the UK social investment market was worth over £2.3 billion, with around 4,000 investments made. The sector has grown by more than 50% since 2015 and continues to grow at a rate of 17% year-on-year.

Samuel Kasumu, Managing Director at Inclusive Boards said;

“The impact of social investment extends beyond simply providing financial capital to ensuring the finance has made a difference to society. The size and relatively young age of social investment means there is an opportunity to drive change and lead by example.”

The Diversity Forum, funded by The Connect Fund to improve diversity among social investors in the UK, is taking the lead to increase diversity at all levels in the sector. Their diversity champions peer network is committed to championing diversity at organisational level in the sector and make changes that have long-term impact. The Diversity Forum has also released a Toolkit on practical resources alongside the report.

As well as being an active participant and working group member of The Diversity Forum, Social Investment Business has recently launched a business support pilot programme – Diverse Ambitions – aimed at organisations in London that support BAME communities.


For further information or to arrange an interview with The Diversity Forum about the new report, please contact Bonnie Chiu on +44(0) 208 004 6429 or

CAN Logo
BSI ISO 9001 & UKAS Logo

The Social Investment Business is the trading name for the Social Investment Business Foundation, Registered Company No. 05777484 (England), Registered Charity No. 1117185 (England & Wales), The Social Investment Business Limited, Registered in England No. 06490609, VAT No. 927456693, Futurebuilders-England Limited, Registered in England No. 05066676 and Forward Enterprise FM Ltd, Registered in England No.11238102. Registered Office: CAN Mezzanine, Borough, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR.

We use cookies to improve your experience using this website. Learn more