International Women's Day,The Gender Agenda Gaining Momentum

Blog by Kathryn Nawrockyi, Acting Director, Opportunity Now

‘The gender agenda: gaining momentum’ was the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, and in the UK the gender agenda has certainly been doing just that – momentum, which is the result of sustained effort and has led to tangible, positive change.In 2013, women make up 47% of the workforce; since 1 March 2012, 34% of FTSE 100 board appointments have been women. The issue of women’s representation in work has increasingly become a focus for government, media and employers – from the publication of Lord Davies’ review and budget measures that support the cost of childcare, to prominent newspapers and broadcasters dedicating significant resource and editorial to the issue.

My hope is that, one day, there will be no need to talk or write about the gender agenda in the workplace; that women and men will be equally represented in leadership, that diverse talent will be fairly recognised and rewarded, and that ‘diversity and inclusion’ will become the norm.

Despite the progress of the gender agenda, we mustn’t be complacent.Women still face a 9.6% pay gap; the average woman working full-time from the age of 18 to 59 years will lose £361,000 in gross earnings over her working life, when compared to her male counterparts.  The percentage of women on boards of FTSE 100 companies has plateaued at 17.3%, with only 5.8% of executive board positions filled by women. There is still a great deal to do in challenging conscious and unconscious bias, changing organisational cultures, and championing inclusive leadership from the CEO to the supervisor.

We all play a part in maintaining this momentum and achieving sustainable change in order to reach that day.Employers have an integral role in this journey and it has been rewarding to see our members fully embracing International Women’s Day, using it as an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the value of women in their own organisations and the economy as a whole.For many of our members, International Women’s Day is a powerful means to communicate their commitment to gender balance both in the workplace, and in their work with customers, consumers and partners.  
Read our case studies to what the following members got up to:

Celebrating IWD…connecting with consumers

  • ITV

Celebrating IWD…internationally

  • BNY Mellon
  • BT
  • Eversheds
  • Hogan Lovells
  • HSBC

Celebrating IWD…in the UK

  • Asda
  • CA Technologies
  • DWF
  • PwC
  • Sodexo UK&I