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The Power of Parity Advancing Women’s equality in the UK

Bridging the UK gender gap in work has the potential to create an extra £150 billion on top of business-as-usual GDP forecasts in 2025, and could translate into 840,000 additional female employees.  In this scenario, the United Kingdom has the potential to gain 5–8 percent in GDP.

Why then are companies not doing more? Here are just some of the import points from the Mckinsey report that will help you think about what YOU can do to make a difference.

Moving towards gender equality is not only a moral and social issue; it is important to future economic growth in the United Kingdom. The research from McKinsey explores the economic potential of narrowing gender gaps at the national level as well as across UK regions; it also examines the opportunity to address gender disparities within various occupations and sectors of the economy. Gender equality in work necessitates gender equality in society, so the research adopts a holistic view, assessing how gender inequality impacts a woman through her life, and identifying a comprehensive set of interventions to help UK stakeholders take action on gender inequality in the short and longer term.

As part of the report McKinsey undertook an extensive review of initiatives in the United Kingdom and comparable countries that are considered to tackle aspects of the gender gap.  They agreed addressing the issues will involve a variety of measures to break down barriers to advancement, combat bias in the workplace, change mindsets and culture, and create an inclusive environment for all. Tracking these issues will require setting stretch goals with individuals and organisations held accountable for their attainment, with regular reporting on progress in public and open forums. McKinsey identified a number of  areas of activities and recommendations these include:

  • For women in leadership, this means organisations that employ women should use data to understand the female talent pipeline, improve the uptake of agile working, establish strong return-to-work programmes, create an inclusive environment in which women and other diverse groups can reach their full potential, and visibly track progress in implementing the interventions as well as the outcomes.

  • For women in STEM, this entails industry, educators, and professional bodies focusing on recruiting more women into the STEM pipeline from a young age and then putting additional emphasis on retaining women through agile working, return-to-work programmes, and creating inclusive work environments. ƒ

  • For childcare and unpaid care, this necessitates making care more affordable through a range of financial support mechanisms, making care more accessible by encouraging investment in care businesses, and ensuring that care can be shared more equally between men and women. ƒ

  • For women in entrepreneurship, this involves building on current efforts to help women entrepreneurs access the capital, contacts, and skills needed to start and scale their businesses. This includes encouraging investment in less traditional growth sectors such as care, education, and lifestyle sectors. ƒ

  • For women in politics, this means creating a more inclusive political culture and encouraging more women into politics through apprenticeship and mentoring. ƒ

  • For violence against women, this requires increased activity to prevent violence, provide survivor support, and improve the likelihood of perpetrators being brought to justice—all of which needs to be tracked and underpinned by robust data about the prevalence of violence.

  • For social attitudes and mindsets, this entails addressing gender stereotypes across media and in all organisations, working with all ages and across demographics, as well as tracking how attitudes change as progress is made across all the other impact zones.

Alongside the specific initiatives, certain established factors have been shown to increase the likelihood of success. They include visible commitment from leaders in government and at the top of organisations, engaging women in the diagnosis of gender equality issues and solutions, engaging men in inclusive programmes for change as role models and as promoters of the diversity agenda, engaging stakeholders from across sectors and industries to reach broad audiences and tap diverse skills sets, tackling multiple interventions as part of a broad crosscutting action plan, and identifying opportunities to build on what is already in place to create scale and momentum.

Closing the gender gap could give the UK economy a substantial boost: adding £150 billion to GDP in 2025, helping to address skill shortages, and contributing to closing the productivity gap with comparable countries. Capturing this opportunity will require action across work and society, encompassing change within business in partnership with government and a range of other organisations.

None of the above is a surprise to us at The Glass Lift, our vision is to improve equality through leadership. We work on a daily basis with talented women and their employers to help facilitate women’s access to senior leadership roles and change the face of leadership. We do this because we know gender equality will not only benefit the women but also increase productivity and improve financial performance of the organisations we work with, the McKinsey report proves this.

Download the executive summary here or full report and detailed data analysis here.

If you really want to make a difference why not join us in one of our Accelerating Difference Masterclasses in Bristol (March 29th)  London (27th April ) or Birmingham (28th June) 2017. This one-day masterclass aims to help senior leaders understand and set the strategic direction to; increase the number of women in leadership, develop a more inclusive culture that ultimately leads to a more productive and profitable organisation.

Call The Glass Lift on 01453 763230 or email us




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