LUMS academics lead the debate on gender inequality at a dedicated event

29 June 2018 14:13
Gender Matters

On Wednesday, a think-tank hosted by Lancaster University Management School (LUMS) and the Work Foundation saw representatives from a host of organisations and sectors share challenges, insights and best practice about the most prevalent issues affecting gender inequality in organisations today.

Introduced by Lesley Giles (Director of the Work Foundation), leaders in gender research (Dr Valerie Stead and Professor Claire Leitch) from LUMS’ Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership shared the latest academic thinking, while guest speakers offered insights from their own businesses and cultures around the world. Speakers included Head of Talent for Barclays UK, Ruth Ashby and Tom Trezise who leads the United Nations Task-force for privacy and security. Oluwafunke Amobi, Head of Human Capital at Stanbic IBTC in Nigeria also offered an address, along with a stimulating keynote from Petra Wilson, Director of Strategy and External Affairs from the Chartered Management Institute.

The event centred around three of the most pressing gender and inclusion challenges facing organisations today – the gender pay gap, the leadership pipeline and family-based policies. In the morning we addressed these issues from  a business perspective in the first session, and moved to policy-oriented discussions in the afternoon. This included  speakers from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (Dr David Perfect, Research Manager), the Trades Union Congress (Alice Hood, Head of Equality and Strategy) and British Film Institute (Harriet Finney, Director of External Affairs) provided engaging insights into current workplace policies and assessed whether these truly enable women to reach their full potential.

Dr Valerie Stead who leads the Academy for Gender, Work and Leadership at Lancaster University Management School, said: “Gender inequality in the workplace is a serious issue - as latest academic research, strength of public feeling and new Government legislation tells us. While there are now laws and policies in place to ensure women are to be paid the same as their male counterparts, in reality there is a phenomenal gap between what policy says, and what happens in practice. This think-tank provides a starting point to address that gap."

Professor Claire Leitch agreed, “This event was a powerful way to bring key individuals and businesses together – the energy and enthusiasm in the room was fantastic. Business leaders left with a plan of action to drive meaningful change in their own organisations.”

Lesley Giles, Director of the Work Foundation, said: “Inequality is a major issue for the majority of UK businesses which affects not only individuals and families, but limits the productivity of organisations and potential of our national economy. Gender equality in the workplace needs to be everyone’s priority – but it needs to stem from business. Real action needs to happen to make any meaningful difference.   

“This event went some way to build a strong, international network to share best practice and shape more inclusive and diverse businesses.”

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