MPs back a new ‘Charter for Women in Business’

Monday, January 21, 2019
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Most Members of Parliament have backed an AAT recommendation to extend the “Women in Finance Charter” to cover all businesses in the UK.

The Charter, which officially launched in 2016, asks financial services firms to commit to implement four key industry actions:

  • to have a named senior executive responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion; 
  • to set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management positions; 
  • to publish progress annually and 
  • ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.

Signed by just over 300 financial services firms, including AAT, its impact currently remains limited to the finance sector of the British economy.

Charter for Women in Business

AAT would like to see the Charter widened in scope and renamed the “Women in Business Charter”. This would open it up to cover all sectors, from Government departments, local authorities and charities, to all listed companies and the five million SMEs that are driving the British economy. 

Members of Parliament agree, with a recent AAT survey (undertaken by YouGov) indicating that most MPs (54%) would support a change to incorporate all sectors of the economy. 

Phil Hall, AAT Head of Policy & Public Affairs, said;

AAT was the first, and for a long time the only, professional accountancy body to sign the Women in Finance Charter, because it knows closing the gap leads to a more diverse and creative workforce, broadens the skills base and can increase creativity and innovation – to say nothing of the obvious issue of fairness and the financial imperative for change.

However, AAT believes that much more could be done. Huge numbers of businesses, large and small, could improve their awareness and understanding of what needs to be done and make necessary changes, if the Charter was widened to include all sectors of the economy.

It’s pleasing that most MPs support such a change and we look forward to working them to try and achieve this in 2019.

Only 15% of MPs said they do not support such a change, while 9% don’t know either way.

Find out more about the Women in Finance Charter and AAT’s commitments to it