A new report, published Wednesday, 30th September, outlines how the Northern Power Women community has mobilised and risen to the challenges that the pandemic has brought.
Based on insight from a series of Power Circles with over 150 cross-sector female leaders into how to build forward better, the report details three ‘asks’ that will set a precedent in a post-pandemic world for a more inclusive and progressive culture.
These are for female leaders to be invited to the table, invested in and for future talent to also be supported.
Women and black, Asian and minority ethnic communities have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and the report aims to amplify their voices and prevent widening inequality.
Simone Roche MBE, founder of Northern Power Women, said: “By rallying together, the Northern Power Women community has supported and encouraged one another to take risks, pivot their businesses and embrace the challenges.
“Endorsed by Dame Julie Kenny DBE DL, we hope that this report will encourage individuals, organisations, policy makers and Government to advocate and support us as we rewrite the rules.”
Dame Julie Kenny DBE DL said “The pandemic forced us to change the rules, this report highlights some of the ways in which we can “build forward better” – let’s not slip back to old habits. The future is in all our hands. Let’s make a difference together.”1212
The report includes representation from a wide-range of cross sector organisations including CBI North East, Liverpool Football Club, KPMG, EY British Business Bank, Arriva and National Nuclear Laboratory.
Launching in the middle of National Inclusion Week, the publication spotlights inspiring stories of plans for the future as well as initiatives that have already begun. As the Women Count report, Melinda Gates and several others have found women offer a vital solution to the economic recovery we are facing and therefore, it is imperative to make sure that our skills and expertise are made proper use of. This approach must be set in motion now, not in the distant future.
In Levelling Up by Powering On, Northern Power Women recommend business leaders and policy makers to:
Give us a seat at the policy making table and on corporate boards to build forward better;
Invest in female led and black, Asian and minority ethnic led businesses to innovate and invest in new ways of working plus accessible childcare to boost the economy: and
Create opportunities for the next generation and Covid-19 displaced talent.
In the report Emily Cox MBE, Chair CBI North East, outlines how new ways of working have emerged contrasting to traditional office-based roles, whilst the Two Zero: Female project highlights Northern Power Women and Groundswell Innovation’s resolve in supporting female entrepreneurs and SMEs with resounding success.
The Covid Changemakers campaign will provide welcome relief to businesses hit hardest by the pandemic, creating paid work for talented but under-utilised individuals. The Northern Power Futures podcast has and will continue to provide a much-needed resource for the young to voice their hopes, fears and dreams in light of the pandemic.
Simone explained “In essence this report shows that despite perceived barriers and challenges we have created a network of supportive and awe-inspiring women who have mobilised to create positive change. We are a hopeful organisation, galvanised by a common purpose. We see the Global Pandemic and the Levelling Up Agenda as a once in a generation opportunity to build a society and a future for the North which is based on fairness, equality and inclusion.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the NP11 said “I support wholeheartedly the recommendations that have been set out in the Northern Power Women Levelling Up report. As we continue to navigate through the pandemic and look towards the future, it’s essential that the North leads with a holistic approach to ‘build back better’, in a way that enables inclusive and sustainable growth. Supporting and investing in women, especially those from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, will be vital to creating a more diverse and productive economy. Now, more than ever, is the time for us to work together to accelerate gender equality and drive diversity in decision-making, in order to truly Level-Up the North.”
Steve Rotherham, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said: “If the Government is serious about its ‘Levelling Up’ agenda then it has to do more to promote and develop women, especially from BAME and other underrepresented groups. Across our region, we are lucky to have some incredible women leaders and it was fantastic to see our first woman Council Leader recently elected as a new member of the Combined Authority.
I want to work with them to amplify their voices and improve representation at all levels.”
Debbie Francis, City Executive for the North for Arcadis and Northern Powerhouse Partnership board member said: “The time for a debate about the role of women in leadership, and the state of gender equality in our workplaces, has never been more necessary. Rightly, our Metro Mayors and Mayor of London have played a critical convening role, whilst most of the decisions and direct delivery of services in the crisis has been by civic leaders. The diversity of the former in terms of female representation is non-existent across England, with no woman Metro Mayor yet elected anywhere or in London.
“At Northern Powerhouse Partnership we recognise the roles our female leaders – including Cllr Judith Blake, Leader of Leeds City Council and Cllr Susan Hinchliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority – are playing in managing the challenges of local restrictions, alongside many leading chief executives in local government and those Northerners playing a national role, like Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England.
“In homes across the country the burden of childcare in the lockdown fell largely on women. Too many of those losing incomes and at risk of job losses are women. The time to invest in retraining and upskilling is now, for otherwise it will be women who will be hardest hit. Devolved authorities are best placed to take up this challenge with funding needed from central government in the Comprehensive Spending Review.”
As we re-build we believe that everyone has a part to play and we need to do more to ensure all voices are heard and that inclusion is at the heart of the recovery. We have gathered those voices from across the North in order to build forward better, create sustainable change whilst supporting the next generation.
Northern Power Women have a part to play in how we Level Up and Power On and ask you to take action. #WeAreNPW #NPWReport
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