Summit to explore issue of women in leadership

Solutions to break down the barriers preventing Birmingham’s women from positions of leadership are set to form the focus of a summit in the city at the Council House on November 28.

The Inspiring Birmingham Women in Leadership summit will explore a number of current challenges facing aspiring female leaders in the city – which lags at, or near, the bottom of many performance tables comparing the UK’s Core Cities.

A recent statistical analysis report for Birmingham entitled ‘Women in the labour market’ showed that female participation in the labour market is lower than that of men – women still lag men in advancement, compensation, and leadership; and women still face challenges in moving to senior positions within organisations.

The report also finds that whilst this is true nationally, the gender gap is wider in Birmingham.

Key findings include:

Employment Rates – Female residents of Birmingham have a lower employment rate than male residents (53.1% compared to 68.8%).  Women in the city have the lowest employment rates amongst the ten core cities and rates are well below the UK average of 68.8%.

Higher Skilled Occupations – The proportion of employed female Birmingham residents in higher skilled occupational groups is 39.3% compared to 42.8% for male residents. The city has the third lowest share of women in higher skilled jobs amongst the core cities and the rate is well below the UK average of 41.6%

Earnings – Female residents earn less than males with average annual gross incomes for women of £22,236 compared to £27,269 for men. Women in Birmingham are the third lowest earners amongst the core cities and on average earn around £2,000 per year less than the average for females across the UK as a whole.

(Sources for above data: ONS/APS June 2016 and ONS/ASHE 2015)

The programme for the summit will provide an opportunity for participants to hear from organisations that have made a specific commitment to engage more women in senior leadership roles as well as women who are successful, inspirational and innovative business leaders who head up some of the largest organisations in this city.

This will then be followed by a series of facilitated workshops and the summit is set to conclude with a panel debate with influential leaders in the city who will consider the theme of ‘Leaders of tomorrow’.

Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness and Equality at Birmingham City Council, who has helped organise the event, said: “Despite lots of research showing there are gaps between men and women when it comes to representation in the workplace there has been little progress in this city.

“We need to set down a marker that shows Birmingham is committed to tackling this agenda head on. Equality takes on many shapes and forms, and this is one area we cannot overlook or neglect.”

As of September 2016 (when the latest data report was run), the city council itself had a workforce that was 67% female, with women performing 56% of senior management roles.

Cllr Zaffar added “I hope the conference acts as a platform from which the city council and its partners can develop its approaches to supporting women to become leaders in this city across all sectors, from business to the public sector and from sport to the arts and everything else in between.

“We intend to bring forward a white paper on the subject, and the input of delegates and speakers who have generously agreed to give up their time to attend will be invaluable in doing this.”


Notes to editors

The following are links to data visualisations on the subject of Birmingham women in the workplace – they are available for media use:!/vizhome/StaffGradeDistribution/GradeDistribution!/vizhome/AverageAnnualEarnings/WagesCharts!/vizhome/EconomicActivityRate/CategoryMap


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