The Great Debate UK

All merit is equal – but some merit is more equal


Savita_Kumra- Dr. Savita Kumra is a senior lecturer at Brunel Business School. The opinions expressed are her own. Reuters will host a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.-

As we approach International Women’s Day, the usual excitement is in the air. A time when the contributions, progress and outstanding impact that women make to everyday society is celebrated is surely a time for some pride amongst us as women, but perhaps also a pause for some reflection.

While the great strides women have made in every aspect of public and private life cannot be denied, what can also not be denied is that there is some way to go in many walks of public life.

In 2008, 14.3 million women were in the UK workforce, compared with 16.9 million men (ONS, 2008). In the 2008 ‘Sex and Power Report’ published by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, we see that in the UK women comprise 19.3 percent of members of parliament in 2008 compared with 18.1 percent in 2003. In business, 11 percent of directors (executive and non-executive) in FTSE 100 companies were women, up from 8.6 percent in 2003. Progress has also been made in public appointments, with women comprising 26.6 percent of civil service top management in 2008, compared with 22.9 percent in 2003, and 9.6 percent of Senior judiciary (high court judge and above) in 2008, rising from 6.8 percent in 2003.