Last week’s news in Skills & Talent put International Women’s Day front and centre – with research by Thoughtworks detailing a continued gap in gender equality … the Rose Review Progress Report highlighting the importance of the Investing in Women Code in driving a record number of new companies being founded by women in Wales … Urdd Gobaith Cymru putting ideas into action by hosting Wales’ first ever Female Youth Sports Conference to showcase vocational opportunities in sport … while on the wider inclusion front, Cardiff-based Wildflame Productions scooped ‘Best Employer’ award ahead of the rest of the UK TV industry, for their inclusive working culture that celebrates the diversity of all talent communities …
Two Thirds of women say their employer lags behind on Gender Equality
Research published last week by Thoughtworks found that around two thirds of women in the UK believe there is still a long way to go when it comes to a range of gender equality issues, from career prospects and personal development to parental support.
In particular, the representative sample of over 1,000 women viewed their employers as lagging behind on career development (64%) and equitable opportunity (63%), with over 30% of those interviewed believing their organisation did not have a plan to address issues around career development and equal pay.
Less than half of the women surveyed (39%) could point to initiatives put in place by their employer to address gender inequality, and only one in seven said they had access to programmes that mentor women employees – while only a quarter thought their organisation provided inclusive training. In terms of supporting parents in the workplace, just one in six (18%) said their employer had an official return to work programme.
More broadly, the research found the vast majority of organisations (89%) agreed that championing gender equality brought significant business benefits, with 29% believing it would foster better workplace relationships, nurture higher productivity and increase employee retention – highlighting the fact that a culture of inclusion and equity can help employers in all sectors attract, retain and develop the talent they need for a successful, sustainable enterprise.
Women starting record number of new companies in Wales
The Rose Review Progress Report 2022 on female entrepreneurship was published last week, scoping the journey made since the inaugural report in 2019. It outlines the extra support needed for female led businesses to thrive, and the challenges that they have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Rose Review originally highlighted that if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men, up to £250bn of new value could be added to the UK economy. Last week’s Progress Report outlined progress made against targets and initiatives but cautions that there is still more to do.
In total, 134 institutions with an investing power of nearly £1 trillion have now signed up to the Investing in Women Code – a commitment by financial services firms to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance.
The Code commits lenders and investors to collect and report data about their performance backing female-led firms and the number of signatories has leapt by a half over the past year.
Rose Review initiatives have seen tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across the UK benefiting from funding, advice and mentoring schemes, while thousands of students have received enterprise training, leading to significant year on year growth in female led startups.
But research conducted for the Rose Review shows that the impact of Covid-19 risks holding back progress. It suggests that despite the rapid growth in female led startups, female entrepreneurs have spent twice as long on caring responsibilities during the pandemic as their male counterparts, and that their businesses have been less likely to recover.
In response, members of the Rose Review board have announced extra measures to boost support for female entrepreneurs:
- The launch of a nationwide Women Backing Women campaign from the Women Angel Investment Taskforce to support women to become business angels – ensuring that female founders across the UK have a better chance to access early-stage investment, wherever their businesses are based.
- Expanded schemes will provide stronger networking and mentoring opportunities and other direct support to hundreds of thousands of female founders over the next three years.
- A recruitment campaign, with the personal engagement of NatWest Group chief executive Alison Rose and business minister Paul Scully, to encourage even more institutions to sign up to the Investing In Women Code.
Wales’ first-ever Female Youth Sports Conference inspires a generation to pursue opportunities in sport
In the run up to International Women’s Day, Urdd Gobaith Cymru hosted Wales’ first-ever Female Youth Sports Conference. The #FelMerch conference (transl. ‘Like a girl’) was held over the weekend of 5-6th March at the Urdd’s residential centre in Cardiff Bay – aiming to inspire, support and empower young women between 16-25 to get vocationally involved in sports.
150 women from across Wales attended the conference to enjoy motivational speeches and various workshops delivered by 20 inspirational and leading experts in their fields – providing a platform to discuss training pathways, qualification options and career opportunities in the sporting world.
The bilingual conference was hosted by endurance adventurer, athlete, and presenter Lowri Morgan, with speakers including Gemma Grainger, Hollie Arnold MBE, Laura McAllister, Natasha Harding, Elinor Snowsill and Gwennan Harries.
Cardiff-based TV company wins ‘UK’s Best Places to Work’
Cardiff-based Wildflame Productions last week topped the TV industry’s annual ‘Best Places to Work’ poll run by Broadcast magazine – beating off competition from every corner of the UK to be awarded a gold medal as No.1 in the list of the UK’s best independent TV production companies to work for.
Founded in 2015, Wildflame Productions creates content for audiences throughout the world from its base in Cardiff – working with the best creative talent from all backgrounds and socio-economic groups, building on a strategy to support skills development in the Welsh TV industry, through a robust training programme.
This remarkable company has proactively nurtured an ethical and inclusive working culture based on mutual trust and respect – and from day one has held a key objective to make Wildflame a great place to work, based on a moral platform founded on well-being, work-life balance and zero tolerance of harassment or bullying.
Their approach has seen them create an enviable reputation for producing factual and specialist factual programming for a wide range of UK and international programmes that sell around the world; with a portfolio that includes Yellowstone Supervolcano: American Doomsday (Discovery+ Original); Secrets of the Celtic Grave (Smithsonian Channel and S4C / Discovery); Dare to Dance – a new BBC factual entertainment format with Strictly Come Dancing star Amy Dowden; Crohn’s and Me for BBC One and BBC Wales; Evacuees / Efaciwis (w/t) – a 14-part series for S4C; Michael Ball’s Wonderful Wales (for Channel 5); The Story of Welsh Art (BBC Two Wales and BBC Four); and the Grierson Award-shortlisted The 1900 Island (for BBC One Wales/BBC Two).