Editor: There are only nine female CEOs in the FTSE 100 and there is a lack of women in senior executive roles.

As a female director at a leading professional services firm, I find it reassuring to see initiatives such as the ‘25x25’ corporate-led campaign, which aims to raise the number of female CEOs in the FTSE 100 from nine to 25 by 2025 and ensure that 25% of CEOs are women thereafter.

Data shows that females are underrepresented at all levels of decision-making worldwide. So, it is unsurprising that when Property Week asked FTSE 100 property companies to comment on the 25x25 campaign, a third declined.

Improving C-suite representation is a great way to create diverse teams from the top down. Succession planning is essential, identifying a firm’s future female leaders and training them for leadership positions. This carves out clear career paths and builds confidence and trust in the company. Similarly, seeing female colleagues progress into management positions can empower others to follow suit.

Another simple strategy is to think carefully about subtle biases that may be present in recruitment communication. Phrases such as “competitive nature” and “aggressively determined” are typically masculine-coded words and might deter potential female applicants.

As a specialist in hiring, I have seen the biases women face, from questions on how career progression might conflict with domestic roles, to not being taken seriously when up for promotion.

This is not to say progress isn’t being made. But it’s time to ensure female-representation initiatives help deliver meaningful change.

Deborah Gray, director, Totum Partners