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The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a new plan to tackle the lack of women leaders which is claimed to be the first of its kind in the public sector.
The initiative, called ‘Our Time: Supporting Future Leaders’, will pair high-potential women in the Greater London Authority with senior staff champions (men and women) who will help to open up the professional networks, opportunities and contacts often needed to progress within workplaces.
City Hall has taken inspiration from successful schemes run in the private sector, by businesses such as Sky and Mastercard, which it says have had a proven impact supporting women into leadership positions. In addition, this approach is effective in supporting women from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, who can face additional barriers in the way of career progression.
Sadiq Khan, said: “It is shameful that in 2018 women remain under-represented at all levels of government and leadership roles. As a proud feminist, I want London to be a shining light in the fight for gender equality…I want to encourage all industries across the capital to commit to addressing the shocking imbalance we still see in positions of power today through adopting ‘Our Time’.”
The GLA, MOPCAC, Transport for London (TfL), The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation (OPDC) have all committed to adopting the Mayor’s scheme, and supporting more women into leadership roles. Waltham Forest Council and Lambeth Council have already signed up to ‘Our Time’ as has shopping centre company Westfield.
City Hall is developing a toolkit to give guidance to other organisations and support them to challenge the gender imbalance in leadership roles. This toolkit will be available from the GLA later in the year.
The Mayor has published two gender pay audits for 2016 and 2017 and introduced a number of measures to promote training and promotional opportunities for women. These include ensuring all interview panels are gender diverse, promoting flexible working and offering access to external mentors for women at senior level. TfL is also introducing measures, including a specific performance target to reduce the gender pay gap each year, anonymous job applications and a new development programme for groups under-represented in senior roles.