MPs have backed a call from the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) for a charter that aims to bring more women in finance into leadership roles to be extended to businesses in other sectors.
Under the proposal, the existing Women In Finance Charter, which was launched in 2016, would be renamed to the Charter for Women in Business. Businesses from any industry would be invited to join the 300 financial services firms that have signed up to it.
Currently, the charter, which is voluntary, asks businesses to agree to four key actions to encourage diversity in the workplace. They are:
- 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
- To ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.
AAT commissioned a survey from YouGov, which found that 54% of MPs agree that the charter should be extended to all sectors. Only 15% disagreed and a further 31% said they either did not know or were neither in agreement or disagreement.
Phil Hall, AAT head of policy and public affairs, said: “AAT 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.”