8 Conclusion |
141. The recommendations in this Report are founded
on the following underpinning conclusions:
- women comprise over half of the population. As
such, a significant amount of public funds are invested in their
education. Ensuring that women, as well as men, have the opportunity
to realise their maximum potential is therefore as much an economic
argument as one about equality.
- careers advice needs to be more robustas
part of a national careers strategy headed by the Governmentenabling
women to enjoy careers that have more opportunities and are better
paid. Policies need to be put in place to remove historic barriers,
cultural or otherwise, in order to enable women to have the opportunity
to progress in hitherto male dominated sectors;
men and women having equal pay for jobs of equal
worth and having the same working terms and conditions leads to
equality within the workplace and within the home;
- flexible working practices, from the senior management
level to the workforce, lead to a more effective use of the available
- increased opportunities for women, in the boardroom
(at both executive and non-executive director level) and in the
- the more successful companies and organisations
are those that nurture their staff at all levels of the workforce,
appreciating long-term commitment from both employers and employees;
- transparency of datawhen facts and figures
are clear and consistentleads to an understanding of where
inequality arises and how such inequalities can be alleviated.
These conclusions need to be the benchmarks for Government
policy and action. While voluntary approaches towards reaching
equality of opportunity in the workplace are to be welcomed, more
stringent regulation should not be seen only as 'red tape'; it
maybe` a necessary part of making businesses and organisations
more economically sustainable. The Government has worked hard
to promote the interests of women in the highest positions in
organisations, and we welcome the Women's Business Council's Report
"Maximising women's contribution to future economic growth".
It makes the economic case for involving women's participation
in the workplace, but it falls short on strong recommendations
to rectify the current inequality.
142. We started this Report with a quote from
the Women and Equalities Minister, the Rt Hon Maria Miller MP,
about the need for this Government to do more to ensure that women
play their full part in the workplace. The Women and Equalities
Ministerand the Government Equalities Officethemselves
need to do more to promote a strategic approach to equality in
the workplace. The Government needs to send a consistent, strong
message about workplace equalityat all levelsand
make clear that regulatory measures will be introduced should
voluntary measure fail to deliver the desired outcomes. If, as
Jo Swinson, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and
Equalities, told us, "the Government is absolutely committed
it must be prepared to take the necessary steps to make it a reality.
The Equal Pay Act was passed in 1970 and inequalities still persist.
We cannot afford to wait for another 40 years, for equality in
the workplace to be achieved.
223 http://womensbusinesscouncil.dcms.gov.uk Back
Q 445 Back