It was announced today that the WNC will be closed down on 31 December 2010, full details are available here
Keep-up with news of the review at our website.
The Independent (Saturday) publishes an investigation into the lack of gender equality in British boardrooms, noting that just five FTSE 100 companies have female chief executives and that only 120 women hold directorships of FTSE100 companies, 19 fewer than suggested by Mervyn Davies last week as some women hold more than one post. The paper has produced a league table showing what percentage of each company’s board is female; more than a fifth have no women at all, and even at the two most female-friendly firms, Burberry and Alliance Trust, just 37.5 per cent of board members are women. EHRC spokeswoman: “Workplaces need to change if companies are to attract and retain the best employees. Long hours, a lack of flexible working options and direct discrimination remain some of the biggest barriers to addressing gender inequality in the workplace.” Laura Tennison, Veuve Clicquot businesswoman of the year: “How many women want to become directors of FTSE100 companies? Is it that women have a more balanced view of life and don’t always put career above every other aspect?”
In the Guardian, playwright Gillian Slovo speaks to a selection of leading female politicians, asking why Britain has so few female MPs. Jacqui Smith says Parliament needs to better reflect the country it serves, noting that the House of Commons currently has more MPs called John than MPs who are women. Ann Widdecombe takes a slightly different view, firmly believing that the best-qualified people should become MPs, regardless of their gender.
The Sun covers the launch of a campaign by Women’s Aid aimed at raising awareness of domestic violence during the World Cup. The story notes that reports of abuse rose by 30 per cent on England match days during the last tournament four years ago. Women’s Aid chief executive Nicola Harwin: “We know that during big sporting events such as the World Cup there can be a rise in incidents of domestic violence, so now is a very relevant time to raise awareness.”
I went on behalf of WNC to the Ninth Commonwealth Women’s Affairs Ministers Meeting in Barbados this week and had a very busy but rewarding time. There were over 100 organisations there and they are given a platform to discuss issues of concern for women on Gender Issues in the Economic Crisis Recovery and Beyond: Women as Agents of Transformation. The discussions focussed on hot topics such as the effects of the financial crisis on women, examining the far-reaching consequences this has had for children, families and communities by increasing their vulnerability to disaster risks. Thank you to all those who gave us your views. I fed those in as far as possible.
I met many great women, many from the Caribbean but also from Malaysia, Malta, Canada and also representatives on climate change and disaster management. I spoke on ‘Partnerships and Networks for Achieving Gender Equality’ and had some very nice feedback about the WNC model and the work we do.
I was lucky enough to be asked to be part of the drafting Committee which worked on the final statement. There was much to be cut down as there was so much to say! The outcomes of two days of dialogue were whittled down into a final Statement that has now been presented to Ministers.
The Statement suggests that Member States achieve this goal through supporting capacity building and providing space for public advocacy among women as well as providing gender training for Parliamentarians and their advisors. It supported the full implementation of CEDAW and other documents like the Beijing Platform for Action as well as the UN Gender Architecture and recommended formal mechanisms for engagement with women including women from diverse groups.
Women felt strongly that there is still much to be done for women around the Commonwealth and sharing good practice and coming together to give voice to their needs and experiences was felt by all to be a hugely worthwhile event.
A very successful and interesting time!
The Times, the Independent and BBC Online look at the new Corporate Governance Code, published today by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). Most coverage focuses on the FRC’s call to get more women into the boardroom by “[paying] due regard for the benefits of diversity on the board, including gender”. Lynne Featherstone: “Half of all consumers are female but only 12 per cent of FTSE 100 directors are, so I’m pleased to see the FRC recognising the need to get more women into the boardroom. A more equal workplace is a more successful workplace and the stronger provision on gender diversity in the new Code is an important step towards building a fair and equal society by tackling discrimination at work.” Baroness Hogg, chair of the FRC: “People who read the code might be inclined to ask questions of major companies who have no women on the board.” David Prosser, Independent columnist: “Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister, describes the new code as ‘an important step’ … but it will be interesting to see whether her colleagues in Cabinet – more male than it has been for a considerable period – want to do more.”