Shadow Chancellor Supports Project 28-40


Ed Balls Shadow Chancellor, Kathryn Nawrockyi, Tony Prestedge, CEO Nationwide






Left to Right

Ed Balls, Shadow Chancellor, Kathryn Nawrocki, Director, Opportunity Now, Tony Prestege, CEO Nationwide Building Society.



Blog by Kathryn Nawrockyi Director, Opportunity Now

At an event in Swindon last week, Ed Balls urged British business to respond to the biggest survey ever conducted into the experiences of women at work as the initial findings were revealed.Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, on meeting women business owners in Swindon, Wiltshire, gave his backing to our ground breaking 28-40 survey.

Myself and Tony Prestege, Nationwide Building Society's Chief Operating Officer, had a discussion about the survey with the Shadow Chancellor.

Tony is one of our board members and Nationwide was one of the 77 signatories to the public letter supporting Project 28-40.  It has a workforce of around 15,000 - 67% of which is female.

Ed Balls MP said: 

“We still have a long way to go to achieve true equality in the workplace for women. So I strongly support Nationwide and Opportunity Now to urge women in businesses across the UK to add their voices to this survey in order to be as representative as possible for women across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Let's beat the target of 100,000 women's voices so we can help push policy makers to understand the challenge and rise to it."

For more information about Project 28-40 see (LINK). 

The results so far show an emerging story about the struggles many women face around progression. They include:

  • 81% feel having children will affect their career progression
  • 72% feel conflicted in their ability to balance family with career
  • 62% of women feel pressured to succeed at both work and home
  • 69% say society expects women to put family before their career
  • 66% believe work needs to be their number one priority if they are to advance their career
  • 91% believe that most senior roles involve pressure, long hours and high stress levels
  • 80% think that the top women in business are portrayed as ‘superwomen’ by the media
  • 63% feel that flexible working still means working long hours
  • 34% believe that the opportunities to advance are equal between women who have children and those who do not
  • 89% of women thinking that being a working mother makes them a good role model for their children, provides balance in their lives and enables them to provide a good life for their children.
  • Almost 90% of respondents say they have not experienced sexual harassment over the past three years

The early results of the survey highlight a conundrum that many women face: they want to work and develop their careers, but they often perceive the sacrifices and pressures as too great. These early indications show that there remain serious issues that need tackling – this survey, as the largest ever undertaken globally, will enable us to use the findings to help address inequalities going forward.