Women in Business

Women in Business

Image courtesy of Jacky Flemming, all rights reserved. 

Like politics, women are poorly represented at the higher echelons of business and in certain business sectors such as science, engineering, technology and maths. There is a growing body of evidence, however, largely drawn from business, which shows that women make a positive difference to actual business decision-making itself.

For example, in a report in 2011 the accounting firm Deloitte found that ‘In Europe, of 89 publicly traded companies with a market capitalisation of over 150 million pounds, those with more women in senior management and on the board had, on average, more than 10 percent higher return on equity than those companies with the least percentage of women in leadership’, and came to the conclusion that ‘In reality, the question is not women or men, it’s how to ensure women and men are working together in decision-making roles’.

When it comes to regional and local economic development, the new Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) show an alarmingly low level of female participation. This is particularly disappointing since it is known that – apart from anything else – increasing women’s economic activity could significantly promote growth. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, 29% of entrepreneurs are women, yet only 14.9% of private sector members of LEPs are women.

Issues concerning women in business not only cover women in senior leadership positions and women’s representation on boards but also women working in all levels of business. Cuts to public sector spending has mean many women have moved out of public sector employment and into private sector employment yet women often fare worse in business where the pay gap is 24.8% compared to the pay gap in the public sector which is 17.1%. For women entrepreneurs the situation is worse, self-employed women earn around 40% less than self-employed men.

To find out more about women and low pay read our low pay report linked below. You can also read more about women in the labour market in our Women and the Economy campaign page.


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The Changing Labour Market - Fawcett Report 2014