I recently attended an event at the AccXel Centre in Cinderford to mark International Women’s Day. The theme this year was ‘embracing equity’ and, in keeping with that spirit, I took part in a panel discussion alongside business leaders which sought to challenge whether companies are doing enough to promote equality in the workplace.
It was a pleasure to hear from the leadership of some of the UK’s biggest employers, including JCB and Lloyds Bank. It is clear that we have made good progress but there is still plenty more work to be done.
As stated in the video, I stressed the point that 50% of the most talented people out there are women and organisations which don’t recognise this will be left behind. Not only is embracing equality the right thing to do, it is in everyone’s interest – those businesses that allow women to flourish will be the most successful.
I was also pleased to share my experiences. I spent four and a half years co-chairing the campaign group Women2Win – mentoring prospective candidates and leading the campaign to elect more Conservative women to Parliament. Since the group’s formation, the number of female Conservative MPs has increased from 17 to 87.
Above all, there was one message I wanted to convey: ‘ask her to stand.’ We need more women in public life and too many bright, capable women have never considered public office. If you know a woman who you think would make a good councillor or Member of Parliament, encourage them to put themselves forward, and if there is anything I can do to help with this, please do get in touch.