Women in the UK are still missing from top jobs

The Sex and Power report 2020 used data collected from September 2019 to January 2020 and was released by the Fawcett Society, the UK's leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women's rights. 

Three women in a meeting.

Three women in a meeting. / Photo: Pexels - Reference image

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

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This year's findings suggest that women are still missing out on the top jobs in a wide range of industries and professions, with women of color at a particular disadvantage. 

Disabled women and LGBTQ+ people face intersecting barriers and discrimination meaning that as women of color, they may be even less likely to be represented.

Sam Smethers, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said: “Despite much lip service about the importance of having women in top jobs, today’s data shows we are still generations away from achieving anything close to equality. We are wasting women’s talent and skills.”

Some of the key findings of the study include the fact that even though women make up 34% of MPs and 30% of Cabinet Ministers, there are no women of color in the Scottish Parliament, National Assembly for Wales or Northern Ireland Assembly. Also, the report shows that when it comes to arts and media, women are still a clear minority: they make up only 21% of national newspaper editors and only four of them are in top jobs. 

As read on The Independent, when it comes to business, things remain the same: only one in 20 chief executives of FTSE 100 companies is a woman and this has not changed since the last report in 2018. 

In Sports, according to the same site, women represent 21% of national sport governing body chief executives, less than in 2018 when they represented a 26%. None of them are black. 

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When it comes to education, the report shows, according to Metro, that women make up only 39% of secondary headteachers, a number that has not changed since 2018 and has risen by just 6% since 2005.

The study clearly states that this gap has nothing to do with women but with the discrimination, harassment and structural barriers that they face when trying to govern UK´s public, political and economic life.

The report suggests that direct intervention, which includes quotas, targets, greater flexible working, the collection of intersectional data and improved pay gap reporting, is needed in order to progress in this area. 

According to Metro, business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “I am determined to lead the fight to tackle gender disparity in all sectors by removing barriers to women’s progression. This includes plans to extend protections against redundancy for new mums, increasing the take-up of shared parental leave and calling out female and ethnic minority under-representation.”