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Call to champion women in business as pandemic widens gender pay gap

INvolve, a global network and consultancy championing diversity and inclusion in business, is calling for recognition of female role models amid mounting evidence the pandemic has brutally impacted working women.

In the aftermath of the news that only half of UK companies filed gender pay gap data this year, the group has extended nominations for the 2020 INvolve HERoes Women Role Model Lists to Friday 31 July.

The Lists, supported by Yahoo Finance, showcase leaders who are championing women in business and driving change for gender diversity in the workplace. They serve as a vital reminder that, despite progress, we are still far from a situation of gender equality – a situation made worse due to coronavirus.

Of those who were in paid work prior to the lockdown, mothers are 47% more likely than fathers to have permanently lost their job or quit, and they are 14% more likely to have been furloughed, according to new research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

Meanwhile, the UK government’s decision to waive its requirement for firms to disclose pay disparities between men and women this year resulted in half of companies normally required to report not sharing their figures, according to a Business in the Community analysis, an indication that, at best, the pay gap may have frozen, and, at worse, is getting wider.

Executive Role Models from 2019 include Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president at Facebook EMEA, Farmida Bi, chair, Europe, Middle East and Asia at Norton Rose Fulbright, and Karen Blackett OBE, WPP UK country manager.

Speaking about the importance of role models to businesses, Blackett said: “People thrive in teams that are diverse; it encourages innovation and new ways of working. 


“Celebrating female role models in business plays an important role in helping to inspire and create a more inclusive working environment where people feel they can progress. We mustn’t lose momentum, and if anything, the pandemic has helped show us that more flexible working can benefit everyone, not just parents.”



It is the first year that the HERoes List is open to those working in the non-profit sector, including NGOs and charities, as well as public and private sector organisations.  



Suki Sandhu OBE, founder and CEO of INvolve said: “Now, more than ever we are in danger of going backwards, especially as The Fawcett Society highlight that women’s workplace equality will have been set back decades by the current crisis.



“Our lists exist to drive the empowerment of women within business and we are proud to be launching the HERoes Role Model List for its fourth year.



“Role modelling is fundamental to ensuring equality of opportunity and more inclusive workplace cultures. Those who have achieved personal success have a responsibility to inspire the next generation of female leaders.



“As we continue to celebrate diversity in the workplace with these lists, we hope to inspire the leaders of tomorrow.”



The three lists celebrate women executives, future leaders, and advocates for women’s inclusion for their work promoting diversity and inclusion in business.



Individuals can self-nominate, or can be nominated by peers or colleagues for their contribution to driving change for gender diversity in the workplace. Nominations are reviewed by the HERoes judging panel who score each person on the influence of their role, their impact on women inside and outside the workplace, and their business achievements.



The full list launch will take place on the 24 September.

To nominate someone, go to: 



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