This International Women’s day, we are supporting the #balanceforbetter campaign.
There has been a call for more gender-balanced workplaces, including a gender balanced board with a target of at least a third of UK board positions should be held by women 2020.
The problem, however, doesn’t just sit at board level. Whilst there are considerable economic benefits to ensuring women are able to reach their full potential within the workforce, they remain under-represented, making up less than 50% of the workforce.
Here at the LEP, we are working to encourage a shift towards a more gender balanced workforce. We have committed £1.5 million to an ESF funded Women in the Workforce programme which will launch later in 2019. The programme aims to deliver change both within businesses and for individuals.
For businesses, the project offers the following:
- Gender pay gap analysis and action plan which aims to support SMEs to calculate and analyse their gender pay gap and to create an action plan to address issues
- Organisational transformation to support women in the workforce which supports SMEs to understand how their business practices prevent women progressing in the workforce and to create an action plan to mitigate them
- Sponsorship Programmes which supports SMEs to design, run and embed sponsorship programmes which link senior male colleagues with junior female colleagues to champion their progression in the business
- Women Returners ‘Returnships’ to support SMEs to set up, run and embed initiatives to enable women who have taken a career break for caring responsibilities to return to work in a structured and supported way
- Tailored work with SMEs to combat gender stereotyping in the workplace
For individuals, it offers:
- Women leadership training which are tailored courses that offer flexibly to enable women to gain the tools and confidence to progress in work to senior positions
- Support for women who have taken time out for caring responsibilities but are in lower paid or lower status jobs than the one they had prior to their career break to seek, prepare for and secure higher paid and more senior positions in the workforce
- Women Support Networks for working women and support for existing networks to encourage women to grow their business
- Support for women aged 19-30 to raise aspirations
- Influencer training in schools, colleges and universities designed to interrupt and tackle unconscious bias and encourage young women and girls to be ambitious and aim for senior leadership positions particularly in non-gender specific careers.
- Women Ambassadors which aims to create a sustainable network of senior women ambassadors to champion and encourage women onto boards, governing bodies and leadership positions.
We are also investing in projects to increase women and girls in STEM industries, 10 steps WISE toolkit for SME’s and improvising careers guidance to combat gender stereotypes.