WOMEN’S ENTERPRISE SCOTLAND PUSHES FOR GREATER WORKPLACE GENDER BALANCE WITH LAUNCH OF WES100 PROGRA

Women’s Enterprise Scotland will launch its first WES100 programme on Monday 25 June, which will bring 100 men and women together to unlock the economic benefits of improved gender balance in the workplace.

Hosted by Dentons at their Glasgow offices in George Square, the programme is targeted at women in Scotland’s technology sector and consists of 4 training sessions delivered over 9 months, with digital based support in between. The programme focuses on leadership and boardroom governance, allowing participants to progress their careers via boardroom insight and improved leadership skills.

The WES100 programme is being funded by the Workplace Equality Fund 2018/9[1], which is managed by the Voluntary Action Fund (VAF) on behalf of the Scottish Government.

Twenty women currently working in technology will undertake the programme, before sharing what they have learnt with workplace colleagues. After the first session, all attendees will be asked to hold round table discussions with their colleagues to identify one action they can collectively deliver to improve diversity and inclusion in their workplace. An action plan will be prepared and delivered over the 9 months. At the final session, each participant will present their action plan and how it has been delivered, which will be followed by a networking celebration at which every participant invites four of their round table colleagues to attend.

Commenting on the WES100 programme, WES Chair, Professor Lynne Cadenhead said; “Research[2]consistently shows that gender-balanced boards and senior leadership teams produce better business results. Yet just 10% of senior managers in science, engineering and technology are women[3]. We are delighted to welcome our first participants in the WES100 programme who will gain new leadership skills and have the opportunity to apply those skills in the workplace by leading round table discussions. There will also be opportunities for participants to gain a board role and apply their new skills in that way.”

She continued; “It is hugely disappointing that the number of women holding the most senior jobs in the boardrooms of Britain’s biggest 100 companies is still woefully low. In Scotland, the situation is equally dismal, with just two of our 40 listed trading companies reaching the Scottish Government’s target for larger business of having at least 33% of board positions filled by women. Active change is needed so that we can all reap the economic and social benefits which gender balanced boards bring.”

Amanda Jones, partner at Dentons and co-chair of its UK women's network, said, "We are delighted to be supporting the WES100 programme and hosting its course. For Dentons, promoting gender equality and equal opportunities globally across all areas of our business is a priority, and we are pleased to get behind this worthwhile initiative that promotes and furthers gender balance in the workplace."

The WES100 programme starts at the end of June and runs until February 2019. It is now fully booked.

[1]The aim of the Fund is to support private businesses in reducing employment inequalities, discrimination and barriers in the workplace. Grants of between £5,000 and £50,000 are available. To be eligible applicants should be a private business or a third sector organisation whose project proposes to work with private business.

[2]Mackinsey, Catalyst and the International Monetary Fund

[3]https://www.closethegap.org.uk/content/gap-statistics/

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