Gender Matters project sheds light on challenges facing UK business

Two women and a man in a business meeting.

Lancaster University Management School’s Academy for Gender, Work & Leadership Gender Matters project is highlighting the range of gender inclusion challenges facing UK business.

Their new Gender Matters 2020 brochure, produced in collaboration with The Work Foundation, aims to shed light on the consistent issues of gender equality and inclusivity identified as being prevalent in 2020: the gender pay gap, the leadership pipeline and family-based policies.

Gender Matters 2020 examines UK businesses as a whole, with a specific focus on the financial services sector, which exemplifies challenges that lie ahead.

Professor Valerie Stead, Director of the Academy, said: “Our research at Lancaster and the Work Foundation reveals the need to examine not only what gender issues are prevalent for organisations but also how these issues arise and the underpinning reasons for their persistence.

“Businesses are continuing to put gender equality and inclusivity high on their agendas. But despite this attention, women continue to be under-represented in positions of power in organisations.

“To progress our understanding of the issues we highlight, and the ongoing challenges posed by Covid-19, we need insight from organisations, policy and from research. This is an opportunity to inspire action for change and to influence impact that will help organisations to work towards more inclusive practice.

“We look forward to exchanging ideas and sharing best practices in order to shape more inclusive and diverse businesses.”

The Gender Matters project has also developed a series of podcasts based around the research, featuring Professor Stead, Work Foundation Director Ben Harrison Financial Conduct Authority Director of Market Oversight Julia Hoggett and Ann Francke OBE, Chief Executive of the Chartered Management Institute.

They explore issues of gender equality at work, reflecting on the gender challenges identified in the 2020 brochure. The podcasts also consider the effects and implications for gender equality at work following the Covid-19 pandemic.

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