The Westminster Employment Forum Seminar returned to discuss the gender pay gap, inspiring the next generation and positive role-models for women.
The seminar, supported by Coca Cola Flick Drummond MP, Chair of Women and Work All-Party Parliamentary Group and Member of Women and Equalities Select Committee, introduced the first panel and chaired the morning. The latter panels covered case studies from Maria Kokkinou, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at Coca-Cola European Partners on representation in engineering, exploring data behind the gender pay gap with Lauren Wright, director of Glassdoor, and how to further support women at work with Emma Codd from Deloitte.
The first topic discussed apprenticeships, and reasons behind there being a lack of women in engineering and plumbing.
Dr Carole Easton, Young Women’s Trust, detailed:
“94% of women do childcare apprenticeships, whilst just 4% take on an apprenticeship in engineering. These figures must be changed, and perhaps in order to do that, we need to change our vocabulary around these subjects”
She introduced Claire Nix, Board member of the Careers Development Institute, who questioned what age we should be addressing gender parity to our children.
“I believe children are brainwashed from a young age by their parents, and it all starts with pink and blue toys. In fashion, in work and in social conventions, gender has never been more open. But still, in toys, in the first thing a child sees, there is gender parity.”
The audience Q&A went onto address school subject teachers, and how there perhaps needs to be more teachers with a sense of modern industries, to encourage girls to apply for STEM subjects and go into industries typically associated with men.
Caroline Dinenage, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Women, Equalities and Early Years gave a rousing speech on priorities for women in the workplace. She said:
“Of course, there’s progress to be made and work to be done. There is still not enough female toilets in the House of Commons. Now, more than ever, it is time for us to be trailblazers. Do diversity. Make more money. It’s that simple.”
Professor Susan Vinnicombe, Professor of Women and Leadership at Cranfield University, stated that there needed to be more growth from Unconscious Bias training, and instead claimed we should be looking at talent management, commenting:
“We need to be sensible and practical about how we engage in role models. We can’t just be looking at the women, but at the men too.”
Finally, Sarah Champion MP, Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, closed the morning by encouraging everyone to research the ‘Let Toys Be Toys’ campaign, and reiterating that despite equality issues being missing from the Brexit proposal, the government is still working tirelessly for female equality.