Quarterly Business News featuring ‘What has the general election done for women in Westminster?’

 

W20 champions women’s networks, mentoring and partnerships.

Women20 (W20), an international programme launched at the G20 Summit in 2015, has brought together some of the world’s leading women to discuss gender inequality solutions.

A panel event – including the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chief of the IMF Christine Lagarde and Ivanka Trump – focused on positive steps for scaling-up women’s entrepreneurship, worldwide.

Fellow panellist, Juliana Rotich, spoke of her experience as a leader of digital empowerment in regions with low technological infrastructure. She talked of some of the biggest challenges for women on a global scale, including climate change.

“These are really big problems that not only require us to have global intervention, but also to bring to bear the innovation that we are seeing in the developing countries.

“The question here for us today is, what are the concrete practical things we can do to sure-up the international partnerships we need?”

Ivanka Trump – speaking in her new role as the White House’s First Daughter – highlighted the need to broaden women’s networks, while Chancellor Merkel emphasised the importance of women becoming active role models.

The W20’s aim is to decrease the gender employment gap by 25 per cent by 2025. For more information, search “W20 Germany”.

New gender pay gap data to help employers.

The government’s launch of mandatory gender pay gap reporting, announced earlier this year, is an opportunity to improve productivity says women’s rights and equalities charity, The Fawcett Society.

The new data capture rules mean that  employers with over 250 staff members will now have to publish yearly reports of their male to female salaries. It’s a move that is hoped to encourage action-based plans that will strengthen the rights of women and boost the economy.

“Employers should see it as an opportunity not a threat,” says The Fawcett Society. “Through gender pay gap reporting they can address the productivity gap and get the best person for the job at the right level.” 

In contrast to equal pay analysis, which focuses on the differences between men and women doing the same jobs, the new figures will look at averages in a similar way to the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation).

In 2015, the OECD’s data identified a pay gap of 16.9 per cent in the UK when calculating the difference between median earnings of men and women relative to median earnings of men. 

The first set of new figures from UK companies, which will also measure a range of averages, are due on 4th April 2018.

What has the general election done for women in Westminster?

In light of the snap general election, parliament’s recent publication titled ‘Women in the House of Commons after the 2020 election’ clearly demands greater attention.

The research, released by the Women’s and Equalities Committee in January this year, described the current progress for gender-balance in Westminster as “slow”. And that’s despite “the wide range of voluntary and institutional initiatives detailed by political parties in their evidence”.

In its conclusion, the Committee challenged all parties to place women in “positions to win” and to reach a female candidacy level of at least 50%, particularly when targeting “winnable seats”.

But if there’s just one political challenge at the moment – for argument’s sake – it’s the inability to make predictions. What is a winnable seat?

It begs broader questions. Did the report miss the point entirely? Shouldn’t parties support women as fully as possible across all available seats? And how can they be more accountable?

In this parliament, 208 of the 650 MPs which make up the Commons are now women: an increase from 191 in 2015. For a broader perspective, in 2001, only 17.9 per cent of MPs were women. Today it’s 32 per cent – almost double. However, while the direction of travel is undoubtedly positive, now it will be the Committee’s challenge to further encourage gender equality in each of the political parties.

 

 

Business leaders needed to strengthen Young Enterprise future.

Young Enterprise, the charity that facilitates a business start-up competition for 15 to 19-year-olds in schools and colleges, is over for another year. But what happens after all the award ceremonies?

From the first day in business, the students do everything. They decide a company name, design the product, sell at public trade fairs and ultimately, pay their taxes. It’s a non-stop, immersive experience.

The Young Enterprise programme has long succeeded at helping young people to find jobs and has given employers a pool of talent with commercial experience to choose from. But there are challenges ahead.

Caroline Tarbuck has been the Young Enterprise Manager for the West of England region for the last five years. Speaking at the Area Finals in Bristol, Caroline said: “The educational budget cuts are going to have a major effect on teams signing up; we have to charge for our programmes.

“So, we have to get smart with the business world and we have to invite business boards to see what the young people are doing and how their skills can be really boosted by this type of programme.

“It just gives them [the students] so many opportunities to meet real people, real business people. We get people who come in and offer work experience and we get people who want to offer some mentoring.”

And when asked what message she’d want to send the readers of this magazine, Caroline simply replied: “We need you.”

Colston’s Girls’ School (Pictured) in Bristol was just one of nine teams to reach the West of England finals this year. Their social enterprise, Connected, enjoyed success with its coffee cup coasters made from giant jigsaw pieces. The product was designed to raise awareness for the homeless, showing how we’re all connected to the problem and its solution.

Year 12 student, Liv Wright, Manging Director of Connected said: “I’ve had a great experience of working with a group of such confident and enthusiastic young women. I know I’ve grown so much as a person, and it’s great to see yourselves growing as a team.”

To find out more about Young Enterprise in your region, visit www.young-enterprise.org.uk.

Written by Richard Cox of Ridgeway Editorial
www.ridgeway-editorial.com

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