Half of UK businesses failing legal gender equality obligations, finds report

Only around one third of businesses in the UK currently enforce policies that protect women against sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace, according to a report from InnovateHer. Tony McDonough reports.

Chelsea Slater, founder of InnovateHer
Chelsea Slater, co-founder of InnovateHer


The report also finds that just over half of companies supply sanitary bins or products in washrooms, despite this being a legal requirement in the UK.

Gender Equality x Corporate Sustainability: A British Business Pulse Check, has also exposed a whopping 83% of companies fall short on employment regulation requirements for working mothers.

Obligations include offering a safe place for breastfeeding people to pump at work and sustainable childcare options and support.

A total of 191 business leaders in the UK were surveyed between May-June this year. Findings also highlighted persisting misunderstandings amongst predominantly male respondents around menopause.

A report from PwC in March showed that progress towards gender parity has slowed in the last few years, and that the gender gap has widened since the pandemic. And that women were being priced out of work by rising childcare costs, while wage growth has slowed.

READ MORE: Report reveals scandal of pregnant women forced out of jobs

A collaboration with digital marketing agency Don’t Be Shy, the report called upon responses from professionals across the UK to take a temperature check of gender equality in businesses today, the awareness of EDI and what is being done to support it.

InnovateHer is a social enterprise based in Liverpool, committed to growing the number of girls considering careers in tech.

Originally called Liverpool Girl Geeks, the venture was renamed InnovateHer in 2018 as it took its work beyond the city region and across the country.

In June they secured £480,000 of funding from Lancashire defence giant BAE Systems and a further £50,000 from Innovate UK’s Future Flight Fund to support the development a cybersecurity learning programme.

Its founder, Chelsea Slater, said: “Our report reveals the reality that women of today face in the workplace. Although there have been some positive moves in the right direction when it comes to gender equality, it doesn’t take much digging to uncover the outdated dynamics and discrepancies that still exist.

“It’s a huge topic, and one that InnovateHer is deeply invested in. Our work focusses on opening up opportunities for women and non-binary people, because we know that gender equality benefits businesses and builds resilience in the long term.”

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