Bristol businesswomen are calling for greater gender equality as the city becomes the first in the UK to launch a Women in Business Charter.
Employers in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors will be invited to sign a pledge, committing to take positive action towards better diversity and representation, and address existing disparities.
Set up by the women in business task group, the new charter launches on Tuesday and sets out seven goals aimed at improving gender equality in the workplace.
Among these are the promotion of flexible or part-time work at all levels, increasing the number of women in senior positions and on boards and closing the gender pay gap.
Jane Ginnever, chair of the task group and founder of Shift consultancy, says: “We believe businesses cannot reach their full potential if they fail to recruit and retain a gender balanced workforce.
“It has been shown that having more women in decision-making positions makes a positive contribution to the ‘bottom line’ and to the way businesses are run.”
The task group is part of the Bristol Women’s Commission and was set up to champion and advance the careers of women and help improve gender representation in businesses across the city. It is made up of women who represent organisations from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.
It is hoped the charter will not only raise awareness and understanding across the city’s employers, but also help them to implement positive change.
Rav Bumbra, founder of Structur3dpeople and member of the task group, says: “We are committed to working with organisations that align with, but also aspire to achieving gender equality and inclusivity for all women in business.
“We aim to bring about improvements and to showcase pioneering approaches within the business community.”
Founding signatories to the charter include UWE Bristol, OVO, Bishop Fleming, Burges Salmon, Bristol Airport, Moon Consulting, Pelican Business Services and Bristol City Council.
Debbie Hartshorn, people director at Bristol Airport, says: “The launch of the Women in Business Charter is an important milestone for our city; by signing the charter businesses are committing to driving change, proactively influencing gender diversity across all industry sectors, and enabling more women to realise their full potential, which can only be a positive force for our future.”
Any business that signs up will select one or more of the goals set out in the charter and will work towards achieving them over the following year.
Businesses will set their own targets for progress and report what they have achieved annually in order to retain their status.
The charter is available for all businesses to sign up to for free. For further details, please contact the task group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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