Powerful women’s forum campaigning for more support

Author - Arlen Pettitt

Date published:

The North East’s largest independent business organisation has welcomed the Government reinstating the compulsory gender pay gap reporting for companies from October but urges businesses to submit their data as early as possible, to get a clear picture of the impact of the pandemic on women’s salaries.

This work is an important part of North East England Chamber’s ambitious campaign to support women in their careers and encourage them to become entrepreneurs.

It has established an influential Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) with a clear focus on addressing key issues that can hold female businesspeople back, including the gender pay gap.

Alix Bolton, (Northumbrian Water) chairs the Forum. She said: “There is huge potential for women on our region which, for a range of reasons, is not being unlocked. In the Forum we have some of the North East’ most inspirational businesspeople from all sectors, who are ensuring we do whatever we can, to make a difference. The Chamber has worked hard to provide information on fantastic female role models for a number of years and this new campaign builds on that proud tradition.”

The four specific WLF workstreams for 2021 will include flexible working and the future of the workplace. Part of this work will be a report into what working life could be like post-Covid and what would be beneficial for women. The results will launched in early March. Research is also being undertaken to see how the current business support available for women, especially start up help, could be better aligned to their needs. The Chamber is also looking at its own services to see if it could do more to encourage female entrepreneurship.

Alix Bolton said: “The importance of the WLF’s work has been brought sharply into focus with the pandemic. Research has shown clearly how the impact is impacting on women in so many ways from taking the burden of childcare to having hours reduced due to businesses having to close. We have fairness and the need to close the socio-economic divide at the heart of what we do in the Forum. It is so important we do try to ensure all women are able to be the very best they can be.”

Working with Alix Bolton on the WLF’s campaign are influential businesswomen and men including Aneela Ali, LNER, Liz Mayes, the Common Room, Lorraine McGill, Bowe Digital, Nusheen Hussain, Home Group, Lauren Archer, Cameo Digital, Di Keller, Karbon Homes, Nadine Hudspeth, Gateshead College and Darius Dodds, Esh Group.

There are a number of regular Chamber Inspiring Females events held throughout the year, where people can hear success stories and advice for women, wanting to develop their careers or launch a business.

Further information on the WLF work and Inspiring Females events are available here.

Also check out our latest podcast in honour of International Women’s Day, featuring members of out Women’s Leadership Forum here.

Back to hub