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1 in 3 say insufficient progress made on gender representation

A national poll marking International Women’s Day shows that many still believe not enough is being done to tackle gender discrimination, with representation in manufacturing an ongoing challenge.


A national poll marking International Women’s Day shows that many still believe not enough is being done to tackle gender discrimination, with representation in manufacturing an ongoing challenge.

 

Having surveyed 700 business leaders in February, the Institute of Directors (IoD) found that more than a third (36 per cent) believe UK business as a whole is making “insufficient progress” on gender discrimination in the workplace. 

 

The government used International Women’s Day on 8 March to announce a new pilot scheme to improve pay transparency in job adverts and a programme to help women back into STEM careers after care leave.

 

However, the IoD says more still needs to be done, including small but symbolic steps such as replacing ‘Chairman’ with the neutral term ‘Chair’ in articles of association and general business practice.

 

Manufacturers’ organisation Make UK is among the groups backing the change. The organisation’s own research shows that women make up just 18 per cent of company boards and only 29 per cent of the UK’s manufacturing workforce as a whole - the vast majority of whom are in administrative roles.

 

Dame Judith Hackitt, Chair of Make UK, said:

“[Changing to gender neutral terms] is a welcome and long overdue change which is easy to make and which I hope all businesses across the UK will support. Despite progress in recent years, it remains the case that women are under-represented in the most senior roles across companies. This is a small, but positive and highly symbolic change that I hope government will back.”

 

As well as dropping gendered titles, manufacturers are also being encouraged to embrace flexible working where possible, report their gender pay gap and implement an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) strategy in their business.

 

Meanwhile, the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) and the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) are both on the lookout for inspiring women in the field to enter their respective Top 50 Women in Engineering and Young Women Engineer of the Year awards for 2022.

Why gender diversity in manufacturing is crucial

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