How Addidi inspires change

‘Inspiring change’ has been our theme for 2018. So many initiatives, campaigns and collectives are being formed with the aim of promoting women’s advancement worldwide, and it’s a cause we at Addidi fully applaud. But while we often think that challenging the status quo and fighting oppression is something more essential in countries where woman are less well represented, it would appear the UK is still behind the times too.

Although the gender pay gap is narrowing year on year, women working full-time can expect to be paid 9.1% less than their male counterparts – according to a 2017 study from the Office of National Statistics. That equates to an average of £100 a week, and as a result calls for companies to publish their gender pay gaps are growing louder.

While equal pay legislation has gone some way to narrowing the gap, it has failed to totally eradicate this embarrassing issue. In this day and age, why should women receive less pay for equal work?

Discrimination remains present in the workplace – and it is unfortunately true that the higher you climb, the fewer women you will find there. A recent study published by the Economic Journal confirms this kind of gender bias in the workplace. The research found that the UK’s biggest companies were only likely to appoint a female director if the post was just left by another woman.

The percentage of female directors on the boards of FTSE 350 companies increased from 2% in 1996 to 8% in 2010. Although progress has been made since then (mostly thanks to the efforts of women making a difference through organisations such as the 30 Percent Club and Women on Board), we still have to contend with the fact that whereas women had a 20% chance of obtaining a position that was left open by a woman, this fell to 10% when the post had previously been held by a man.

The EU has set itself the ambitious target of achieving 40% female representation on listed companies’ board of directors by 2020 – this is something that we believe must happen. In addition to the benefits it would have on the economy (many studies have shown that gender-diverse boards outperform male-only boards), boards at the top level could benefit greatly from the diversification, unique skill sets and refreshing leadership styles that women bring with them.

By their very nature, women are natural opportunity experts, able to breathe life into their ideas and inspire others to do the same. Women are great at cultivating strong relationships and thrive on facilitating connections between people. Women are also natural givers, with twice as many women running social enterprises as opposed to leading small businesses.

Now is the perfect time to think about how we – the government, business leaders, and women – can help unlock the full potential of women and ensure we put an end to an unfair state of inequality that does us all a disservice.