2018 marks the centenary of the Representation of the People Act. It was in 1918 that some women (those over 30-years-old who met a minimum property requirement) in the UK were granted voting rights by the UK parliament. Women under 30 had to wait a further ten years before they were given equal voting rights with men in the 1928 Equal Franchise Act. Now here we are 90 years after that huge step towards equality, but have we reached our goal?
While some significant steps have been taken towards gender equality here in the UK, unfortunately, we’ve not yet reached parity between the sexes. Across the vast majority of sectors, pay inequality based on gender still exists. According to the EU’s gender equality league table, the UK has made “zero progress in tackling inequality between the sexes in the past decade.” This marks a worrying trend across Europe which, according to the report, resulted in women still earning on average 20% less than their male counterparts.
Business in the Community: Promoting Capability, Not Gender
As part of our enrichment programme, we will be hosting a gender equality conference on Wednesday, 23rd May to celebrate the victories towards equality that have been achieved by various members of the business community. During the event, we will be discussing what more needs to be done to gain parity, and we’ll give students advice on what they need to know when going into the workforce. Gender Research and Policy Manager, Kaammini Chanrai, of business charity Business in the Community, will be joining our students at our Holborn campus to give a presentation titled: “Equal Lives: Gender Inequality and Work-life Balance.”
Business in the Community is a charitable membership organisation that promotes progressive attitudes in the workplace. The group encourages member businesses to strive for improved social, environmental and economic sustainability in their business, and to use the collective strength of the partnership programme to “be a force for good.”
The group looks at inequality from a perspective that joins social and corporate responsibility; gender equality has tangible benefits for companies’ reputation and profits alike, yet women are still outnumbered in senior positions. On company boards, women are outweighed by their male peers three to one, while the pay gap (spanning across sectors and levels of employment) was reported by the Office for National Statistics as 18.4% in April 2017.
Rather than move more women into traditionally male-dominated spheres of working culture, Business in the Community is interested in tackling discrimination by encouraging men into roles and environments historically reserved for women. A report from the charity advises employers to “focus on employees’ capability – their skills, knowledge, experience and potential – not their gender.”
We look forward to welcoming Ms Chanrai for the conference regarding the charity’s contribution to the UK business landscape and what the next big step for gender equality will be.
Name: Equal Lives: Gender Inequality and Work-life Balance
Location: UKCBC Holborn Campus
Time: 1-2 pm
Attendance based on a first-come, first-served basis. The event is restricted to UKCBC top-up degree students.