June 4, 2014
The Chair of the Women’s Business Council, (WBC) Mitie Chief Executive Ruby McGregor-Smith, is calling for a fundamental change in mind-set from business leaders, to help remove the final barriers to women’s equality. In the Council’s ‘One Year On’ report which included discussions with over 500 companies and individuals over the last year, as well as canvassing the views of male Chief Executives; the WBC concludes that male leaders are important, as visible agents of change, to ensure women are not held back in reaching their full potential in the workplace. Back in June 2013, the WBC published a number of recommendations for business and government to improve opportunities for women. Since then things have been moving in the right direction. But despite this progress, the organisation argues that male leaders could do more. Said Mitie Chief Executive Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE: “We are hugely encouraged by the progress that has been made over the last year. More women than ever are in employment, the gender pay gap has closed to nearly zero for women under 40 working full time and there are more women sitting on boards than at any time.
“This is not the time to be complacent. We must address cultural attitudes in the workplace, often deeply ingrained, if we are to see true gender parity. I’m confident that with our esteemed new members joining the Council this year, and with such a dedicated board, we can make even greater progress in 2014/15 towards our fundamental goals: broadening career aspirations among girls, and maximising women’s contribution to future economic growth.”
The report notes that there are more women in employment than ever before, more women running their own businesses, and 4,000 more female STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subject graduates than in 2013.
However, Women’s minister, Nicky Morgan, said: “I want all businesses and employers to play their part by driving forward the cultural change needed to ensure women can achieve their full potential. We will continue to work with the Women’s Business Council, to ensure women are supported in every stage of their career.”