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Sunday 8 March was International Women’s Day, celebrating women's achievements, raising awareness against bias and taking action for equality.

Working together

Sue Rivas, Director of Scheme Services and senior sponsor for our gender workstream, took the opportunity to share our priorities for the coming year to ensure that we continue to promote and maintain a gender-equal PPF.

"The theme for this year’s IWD is ‘Collective Individualism’. This aims to highlight how our individual actions, conversations, behaviours, and mind-sets can have an impact on wider society. The idea is that together we can make change happen, and together we can create a gender-equal world.

"We have a great record in terms of promoting gender equality in the workplace, including the women’s groups that we’ve set up Inspiring Women, Empowering Women and Emerging Women. Lisa McCrory has also recently been appointed to ExCo which means that three of our eight committee members are female.

"The women’s groups are designed to provide open forums where topics and current issues can be discussed in a supportive and confidential environment. Going forward, we plan to merge the Empowering and Emerging Women groups so that we can offer a greater platform for women across the organisation to speak up. More information will be provided on this in due course."

Where do we stand now?

"But we cannot rest on our laurels. We need to continue to look at ways we can maintain our gender balance and address any inequalities. At the moment we’re more or less 50/50 in terms of our gender split, and around 41% of our senior managers are women; however, it won’t take much to undo this. There are currently significantly more men in level 3 to 4 roles, which means there could be a pipeline issue on the horizon that we need to be mindful of.

"It’s important that we recognise that gender equality is not just a women’s issue. Male allies play a vital role in supporting the drive for gender equality. Progress can only be achieved when we work together to engage in conversation and make sure that solutions can work for us all, whatever our circumstances. For example, we know that a better work/life balance leads to happier and more effective employees. So we will be opening up some of our sessions to all so that we can share ideas and work together to drive positive change.

"We’re also looking at how mentoring might help to support women of all levels in the organisation by tailoring programmes to individuals. We hope to offer all kinds of mentoring opportunities from informal arrangements to group sessions that involve problem solving. We will be sharing more information about this with you later in the year."

Let’s drive positive change, together.