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is the uk becoming a worse place for women to work?

The UK has become a worse place for women to work according to the Independent’s report (29.1.15) on figures from the World Economic Forum.

Lena Levy, CBI Head of Labour Markets Policy, writes

Increasing numbers of businesses are realising that having a diverse workforce is not just the right thing to do – but can be a competitive advantage too. Diverse workforces help bring about innovation, help produce more robust business decisions and allow firms to better-understand the full range of their customers.

This change is reflected in the statistics. As of June last year, there were no all-male boards on the FTSE 100 and by October, the number of women on the FTSE 100 boards stood at 22.8%. This is a figure almost double where we were when Lord Davies recommended a target back in 2011 – and it’s continuing to rise.

Business has played a tremendous part in driving this progress but there is more to do and to keep momentum up both companies and the government must focus on expanding the talent pipeline.

Better careers advice to get more girls into science and maths subjects, mentoring support at work and embedding family-friendly policies will help to boost diversity and reduce the pay gap between men and women by making it easier for women to choose higher-paid and full time roles.

In addition, the next government should set a national target for reducing the gender pay gap.

The proportion of women in work overall is now higher than it was just before the recession began, but it still lags behind the figure for men.

See also the CBI’s call for businesses to go further on flexible working

made as part of its Great Business Debate with Mumsnet on women and work

and our Great Business Debate podcast on flexible working. In which we speak to Caroline Artis, senior partner for London, EY, Carol Rosati, director, Harvey Nash & founder of Inspire, an international network for businesswomen, Sarah Churchman head of diversity & inclusion, PwC and Sarah Jackson, chief executive, Working Families.

Join the debate here and on twitter @bizdebate



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