Supporting Women in the Workplace

Some good news you may have missed in July:

Today I’m announcing a really big move: we will make every single company with 250 employees or more publish the gap between average female earnings and average male earnings. That will cast sunlight on the discrepancies and create the pressure we need for change, driving women’s wages up…

 …Transparency, skills, representation, affordable childcare – these things can end the gender pay gap in a generation. That’s my goal.”

UK Prime Minister, July 2015

Let’s hope it is achieved.

There is a central London (Victoria) conference in November, Towards Gender Equality.  Baroness Prosser OBE, Former Deputy Chair and Former Interim Chair, The Equality & Human Rights Commission and Former Chair, Youth Employment Taskforce, Recruitment and Employment Confederation is a keynote speaker. The topic is how companies can support women in the workplace. I’m going, anyone else? We need to keep speaking up…

Until 6th September 2015 you can respond to the government consultation on the gender pay gap here.

Speak Up is available now at a huge discount throughout August. Get your copy!

An overview of the conference

There are now more women-led businesses than ever before and a record employment rate for women of 68.5%, with 14.5 million women currently in work. However, while great progress has been made there is still a long way to go in achieving gender equality in the workplace.

The overall UK gender pay gap still stands at 19.1%, meaning that a woman, on average, earns around 80p for every £1 earned by a man. Moreover, women are still less likely to progress far up the career ladder – while women make up 47% of the workforce; they make up only 34% of managers, directors and senior officials. This is true also for local government, with figures from 2012 showing that just 22.9% of local authority chief executives and 32% of councillors were women, and just 12.3% councils in the UK led by women.

Yet gender employment isn’t just a matter of social justice, it’s an economic priority also. Indeed, the Women’s Business Council has urged that this country’s future growth and prosperity depends on maximising women’s contribution to the economy; estimating that equalising women’s productivity and employment to that of men’s could be worth up to £23 billion to our economy each year (‘Two Years On’ Report July 2015).

In recent years the Government has sought to promote employment equality though a series of new policy measures. In 2014 the Government extended the right to request flexible working hours, in April 2015 new rights to shared parental leave came into effect, and the new Tax-Free Childcare scheme will be launched in 2017. Also, this July the Prime Minister announced that companies with more than 250 employees will now have to publish their gender pay gap.

Additionally, in March 2015 the Government announced additional funding for the Timewise Councils’ accreditation scheme which, supported by the LGA, helps local authorities identify, adopt and share best practice in flexible working as a valuable tool in achieving transformational change and encouraging a more diverse workforce.

However, the Government alone cannot bring about long-lasting cultural change. Employers themselves need to do more to empower a broader pool of talent and ensure that employees are treated fairly.

Following David Cameron’s recent commitment to end the gender pay gap in a generation this timely symposium provides an invaluable opportunity for employers, HR officers, legal professionals, researchers, equality campaigners and other stakeholders to assess the impact of the Government’s latest measures and discuss what more needs to be done to promote gender equality in the workplace. The symposium will also explore how to maximise women’s economic contribution, address female underemployment, and change business culture to better utilise the talents of women as they participate in the workforce at every stage of their lives.

Posted on August 25th, 2015 by

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