Time to address gender inequality: business champ

Gender inequality needs to be addressed, says CBI chief.
Gender inequality needs to be addressed, says CBI chief.

A top NI boss at the main UK business lobby acknowledges the private sector must emulate the public sector in attempting to address gender inequality.

Kirsty McManus, Assistant Regional Secretary of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says the lobby is launching a new drive towards a ‘post-gender economy.’

In a platform piece in the ‘Business First’ industry magazine, Ms McManus wrote: “Even into the second decade of the 21st Century, when many other taboos in society have long since been broken with respect to gender equality, there remains much to be done to attune the business world to the rising power of female decision makers – and the need to better reflect this in boardrooms across the country.”

She argues that there is now a growing sense within industry that putting off change is not an option; that there is a growing number of women with degrees that are entering the workforce and rising up the ranks in businesses and; there is a growing number of female entrepreneurs.

She also points to a recent report by the Commissioner for Public Appointments on the issue of ‘Under-representation and Lack of Diversity in Public Appointments in Northern Ireland,’ which identifies the issue.

The Sentinel has previously reported how one quirk of a large public sector is that inequality in pay between women and men in Londonderry and across Northern Ireland as a whole has been kept much lower than in the UK generally.

But when it comes to the progress of women within business, Ms McManus argues key issues include accessible, affordable and high quality childcare.