March is a month of celebration, with Women’s History Month showcasing the contributions of women to events in history, politics and society, marked with International Women’s Day on March 8th. But why, in an age where gender parity is at the top of most corporate and educational agendas, is it so vital that we recognise and celebrate the achievements of women?
In their 2018 report, Grant Thornton stated that ‘the percentage of businesses around the world with at least one woman in senior management has increased significantly, rising from 66% to 75% in the last year. Yet, at the same time the proportion of senior roles held by women has marginally declined,’ but why?
Are businesses hiring women because they can see their potential – or are they just ticking the diversity box?
In either case, there is evidence to suggest that having more women in senior leadership roles brings real business benefits. The Peterson Institute for International Economics completed a survey of 21,980 firms from 91 countries and found that having women at the C-Suite level significantly increases net margins.
Balancing out the senior management gender landscape is not a quick fix, and will not happen overnight, but what’s crucial is that organisations start to create the framework in which gender parity can flourish.
At Seddon, we began by looking at things such as flexible working, maternity and paternity policies and Director of Business Services, Nicola Hodkinson, created Foundation, a network group for women. Led by Nicola and the female senior leaders of Seddon, the group brings women together, providing support and guidance on career development opportunities, there are currently 35 members at all levels across the business.
Nicola said “We’ve opened group membership up to all the women at Seddon and are working on some project ideas with our members. We’ve got a real opportunity to create lasting positive change, not just for the women at Seddon, but women across our industry. I’m really excited to see what we can achieve.”
Our Director Nicola Hodkinson has created ‘Foundation’ a women’s group set up by herself and other women in Seddon. “We’re opening group membership up to all the women at Seddon and hope to get some great project ideas from our applicants. We’ve got a real opportunity to create lasting positive change, not just for the women at Seddon, but women across the industry. I’m really excited to see what our network can achieve”
Written by Nicola Hodkinson, Director of Business Services.