The battle to get more women into the boardroom has intensified in recent years. A report in the Financial Times this September revealed that the UK is on track to achieve its voluntary target of raising female representation on boards to 25% by 2015.
Welcome progress indeed, but still not enough in the opinion of Helena Morrissey, founder of The 30% Club: the group was founded in 2010 with the aim of achieving 30% female representation on all corporate boards. Morrissey told FT.com that companies must innovate beyond just the boardroom in order to drive genuine change. The campaign focus is now on seeing more women in middle management.
Clearly, work continues. But this should not detract from the fact that, throughout UK industry, there are inspirational female leaders blazing ahead in their own careers, unconcerned by filling quotas and targets. They are not concerned with being one of a number. They are focused on success, and they are young, too.
Here, then, are five female business leaders to watch. And all aged under 35 years of age, too.
Catherine Thomas, Vargags
Managing Director at Vardags, Thomas is recognised as one of the the best divorce lawyers in the country. A partner at a firm at just 26, she has worked on some of the highest profile cases to have gone through the UK courts including the representation of Michelle Young, who was awarded a lump sum payout of £20m, plus £5m in costs, in 2013.
Noelle Chen, Rio Tinto
Chen is Business Development Manager at Rio Tinto; notable achievements include her negotiations in the sale of a copper mine in Australia to a chinese mining business for $820m in 2013. She's bilingual, speaking Mandarin as well as English.
Kathryn Parsons, Decoded
Decoded is a school which teaches computer programming; Parsons, 32, is co-founder of the company, which has its London offices in Shoreditch - an area so synonymous with tech start-ups that it's been called Silicon Roundabout. She self-funded the business with three others - clients of Decoded, which teaches people to code in a day, have included Facebook and the BBC.
Brie Rogers Lowery, Change.org
Change.org is the world's largest petition platform and Rogers Lowery, 29, is its UK director. An expert in digital campaigning and online fundraising, Lowery has driven the user base at Change.org to nearly six million in the UK.
Smruti Sriram, CEO, Supreme Creations
Supreme Creations is the world's largest ethical manufacturer of reusable bags and sustainable packaging and Sriram, 28, is its CEO. An Oxford graduate, she works with some of the most respected brands in the world, including Nike, Tesco, Boots and Topshop.
Those are just a selection of five businesswomen making significant impacts in their respective industries. If you're feeling inspired, please register your interest for global executive jobs at exec-appointments.com