January 21, 2019
A majority of MPs have backed a recommendation to increase gender diversity in business by extending the “Women in Finance Charter” to cover all businesses in the UK. The recommendation comes from the professional accountancy body AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians). The Charter asks financial services firms to commit to implement four key industry actions; to have a named senior executive responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion; set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management positions; publish progress annually and ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity. Signed by just over 300 financial services firms including AAT, its impact currently remains limited to the finance sector of the British economy. AAT would like to see the Charter widened in scope and renamed the “Women in Business Charter” coverng Government departments, local authorities and charities, listed companies and the five million SMEs. MPs agree, with a recent AAT survey (undertaken by YouGov) indicating that most MPs (54 percent) would support a change to incorporate all sectors of the economy.
Phil Hall, AAT Head of Policy & Public Affairs, said; “AAT was the first, and for a long time the only, professional accountancy body to sign the Women in Finance Charter, because it knows closing the gap leads to a more diverse and creative workforce, broadens the skills base and can increase creativity and innovation – to say nothing of the obvious issue of fairness and the financial imperative for change.
“However, AAT believes that much more could be done. Huge numbers of businesses, large and small, could improve their awareness and understanding of what needs to be done and make necessary changes, if the Charter was widened to include all sectors of the economy.”
Added Hall: “It’s pleasing that most MPs support such a change and we look forward to working them to try and achieve this in 2019.”