“We need more women” – City Eye Blog

Photographer: CliveTotman
Photographer: Clive Totman
The City has something to shout about. “We need more women” says the Mayor.  The case for embracing diversity in the workforce is not just moral but good business sense, according to the Lord Mayor of London.

“London will lose out if it does not capture the benefits of diversity – fresh perspectives, originality and innovation – by enabling talented individuals to get to the top,  this change will not happen overnight but we need to ensure that businesses employ a true meritocracy, so that the best succeed, regardless of gender, race, sexuality or nationality.”

Photographer: Clive Totman

Last week she launched her Diversity Initiative with 3 red buses, supported by 36 companies.   The buses are now in active service, operating from Westbourne Park, Bow and Shepherd’s Bush in London. The Power of Diversity. An appropriate title coming from a woman, with great experience of the Electricity business.  The Right Honourable Fiona Woolf, Lord Mayor of the city of London.

A moment of serendipity  took her to Belfast. “when I was asked to go to Belfast to advise the electricity company about an independent power project. It was a get-lucky- moment. There was nobody else in the office available to go.” So later I got the job of advising the National Grid on its privatization.

As only the second woman Lord Mayor, out of 686 Mayors, Fiona Woolf has  a unique opportunity to make a stand for Diversity for the disadvantaged, the disabled, ethnic minorities, LGBT but especially for women, she says.

“I have been on a lot of diversity waves that have rolled back. When I was President of the Law Society, about 25% of partners in law firms were women. We then slipped back to 21%.  Maybe part of the problem is the big middle in organizations, where people are so busy getting the job done and looking for the next one that they don’t have time to push for diversity.”

Extracts are from her interview with  Silvia Cambie, a member of her Diversity Advisory Panel.

The square mile of the city may seem like a tiny part of both London and the UK, but in international terms and financial terms it is a global powerhouse, so her influence is immense.   Traveling globally she has a special opportunity to open doors to trade not just for the city, but for business,today 13th January she is in Hong Kong.

My first visit is to Hong Kong  and Taiwan,  and after a quick sprint back to London,  then  off to India .”

Courtesy of workingchance: http://workingchance.org/AboutUs/LordMayorsAppeal/tabid/1184/Default.aspx
Courtesy of workingchance: http://workingchance.org/AboutUs/LordMayorsAppeal/tabid/1184/Default.aspx

But amongst her many careers, she also both sings and dances, and in her travels around the world these have been assets: I spent three years Scottish country dancing in Bahrain like there was no tomorrow! When she was asked to got to Bahrein her initial thought  was “You can’t ask me to do that, I’m a woman!”.

One of the more admirable aspects of her tenure is the charities which she promotes, and one of particular interest is called workingchance.

Photo courtesy of working chance

A fascinating women of many and varied talents, it is surprising that she has not appeared more in the media, but apart from the Evening Standard little appears in the main stream media.

Isn’t it time we started to believe in ourselves and our capabilities?

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About the author

City Eye became interested in Overlooked and Overshadowed women, both in contemporary times and through out history. The former would include the women passed over for the Nobel in favour of their male colleagues. The later would be the wives of famous men, such as Mrs. Mandela. Her study of women written out of history, led her to interviews with interesting and inspirational women, (and some men). Extracts will be published in the articles. In no way is this men versus women, as to who is better. Simply that an overly macho, military, testosterone fueled environment, mainly men, needs the balancing attributes, often, though not exclusively, assigned to women: caring, conciliation, communication. Find out more: City Eye Blog ©christina ionthecity.wordpress.com

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