The Great Debate UK
-Chris Parke is managing director at Talking Talent. The opinions expressed are his own. Reuters will host a “follow-the-sun” live blog on Monday, March 8, 2010, International Women’s Day. Please tune in.-
As we celebrate International Women’s Day’s 99th anniversary, we should also be asking ourselves – does it hold any relevance anymore? I would argue that it does. Although gender equality has progressed in leaps and bounds over the decades, there are still plenty of global issues to tackle. Have we really found the holy grail of complete gender equality? Certainly not, and, although there is much to be said for the progress we have made, there are noticeable ‘cracks’ appearing. And the harder people look, the bigger they seem to get.
In the UK, we find the generations coming into the workplace now have little concept of the inequality faced by generations past. It is the male population who are fighting to achieve the same results as their female peers at an educational level. However, despite the fact that we are recruiting more female graduates than ever there still seems to be a paucity of women at senior levels, so why is this?
When talented young women finally enter the workplace, it can often be a shock to find previously un-considered and unconscious barriers still in operation. Despite the visible initiatives to support women reaching senior levels, we still find that only 12 percent of board members on the FTSE100 are female, and Legal Week recently unveiled that less than 20 percent of partners at the country’s 30 largest law firms were female (despite 60 percent of graduate intake being female).