The report by the Women's Business Council (WBC) makes for very good and at times stark reading. Entitled 'Maximising women's contribution to future economic growth' and published in July 2013 this reports makes the case for businesses and the UK government to take greater steps to support and increase the opportunities for women to make an even greater contribution to the economy. The report states that 1.3 million women want to work more hours and 2.4 million women are not working, but want to work. This clearly demonstrates that we have access to a willing and able resource of work ready people.
The findings in this report coincide with a similar report 'What Matters to Mothers in Europe' by the Mouvement Mondial des Meres-Europe (MMM Europe) which reported the thoughts of over 11,000 mothers across Europe in 2011. I was one of a number speakers who came together for the European of Mothers in Management Conference held in Malta to discussed the findings of this report as a part of its publication. You can still download that report here http://www.mmmeurope.org/ficdoc/2011-MMM_BROCHURE_What_Matters_Mothers_Europe.pdf
63% of those mothers who responded said that they wanted to work part-time and care for their families part-time. Many women want to work and contribute.
I do not believe we can in light of our current economic challenges afford to continue to ignore where we are and the large potential that exists within our ranks to take us out of this economic plight just because of differences such as gender, race, culture, sexuality or other elements of which are in reality part of our humanity.
The failure of government and businesses at large to recognise the potential women bring is beyond basic common sense and does not demonstrate good business acumen. We failure ourselves and future generations of both men and women by not recognising the hindrances to progression that women face at every stage of their career. And more importantly by not taking steps now to address these failings and ensure they are removed.
Chair of the WBC Ruby McGregor-Smith says
Women are a key source of untapped potential which we need to harness to boost economic growth in the UK.
Messages about the necessity to improve equality in the workplace, that businesses who create better business cultures attract the best talent be that female or male to their organisations and that these businesses perform more strongly, are better at supporting individuals and are more attune to their customer base continues to increase year after year. In basic turns, equality in the workplace at all levels leads to an improved bottom line. Why then, do we ask, is it that decision makers refuse to act in the best interest of their organisations, their customers and longer term benefits of their stakeholders and why is it that governments, our own included, fail to take the necessary steps to support women's development and their potential to positively contribute and impact on our economy?
We do hope that this excellent report, its evidence and its outline of the steps that can be taken by all to capitalise on the skills and talents of all people, female and male to the benefit of us all, will actually make a difference and not just fall on ears and eyes that are closed by choice in response to this issue. Let us all consider and where possible take the steps outlined and play our part in turning this increasingly unsteady tanker of inequality around.
We need to create a business culture that embraces flexible working and provides better support for working parents.
Ruby McGregor-Smith, CBE (Chair) Women's Business Council
Download the full report by following this link http://womensbusinesscouncil.dcms.gov.uk/and let us know what your thoughts are on the subject.
Join WiMUK in helping women to achieve the potential they have and make positive impact to bringing our economic forward.