Time-limited gender equality quotas needed, say campaigners

Men dominate positions of power in every sector, say equality campaigners, as a new report is published showing the stark and shocking lack of equality in Britain in 2018.

The new research from gender equality charity the Fawcett Society reveals that women make up just six per cent of FTSE 100 CEOs, 26% of cabinet ministers, 17.6% of national newspaper editors and 32% of MPs. Gender imbalance also extended to the legal system, with just two women among the 12 Supreme Court judges and nine women among 38 Court of Appeal judges.

Where there is data available, the Fawcett Society says that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) women are even less likely to be represented. BAME women make up approximately 7% of the UK’s total population but just 4% of MPs, for example. There are no BAME women at the top of FTSE 100 organisations.

“When we see this data brought together it is both shocking and stark,” says Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society. “Despite some prominent women leaders, men haven’t let go of the reins of power and progress is painfully slow. Equality won’t happen on its own. We have to make it happen. That is why we are calling for time-limited use of quotas and making all jobs flexible by default.”

The report calls for:

A time-limited use of quotas across public bodies and the boards of large corporate organisations, enabled by law. For other organisations who cannot countenance quota systems, set targets and publish an action plan.

The Government should legislate for all roles to be advertised on a flexible working basis, unless there is a business reason for them not to be, and more roles available on part-time or job-share basis.

The immediate implementation of Section 106 of the Equality Act 2010 to gather candidate monitoring data, extended to include local government.

The data shows the inequality across all sectors, pointing out a huge imbalance in business. Only 6% of FTSE 100 CEOs are women, says the report, with 9.8% of executive roles and 27.7% of all directorships held by women. To read the report in full, see here.

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