March 2022


"Still work to be done" to address gender pay gap

“Where we need to make progress is the gender pay gap because there is still a 15 or 16 per cent difference compared to men and women carrying out the same jobs."

The gender pay gap still needs to be addressed to get closer to equality in the workplace, one of the leading businesswomen in the region has told an audience in Warwickshire.

Louise Bennett, Chief Executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce and High Sheriff of the West Midlands, was the guest speaker at its Women in Business Networking Lunch.

Around 60 businesswomen from Coventry and Warwickshire attended the networking lunch at the Billesley Manor Hotel & Spa in Stratford-upon-Avon on International Women’s Day which this year focused on the theme of ‘break the bias’.

Louise, who is set to step down after 19 years at the helm of the Chamber later this year, said there had been much positive progress for women in business throughout her career – but more could be done.

“We are making progress in terms of equality and one noticeable difference is the number of women who hold non-executive director roles,” she said.

“Ten years ago, the number of non-executive directors who were women was 12 per cent and there is now about a 40 per cent representation on the boards of national companies.

“Where we need to make progress is the gender pay gap because there is still a 15 or 16 per cent difference compared to men and women carrying out the same jobs.

“In Coventry and Warwickshire, we continue to champion our women in business and many of our key businesses or organisations are led by women.

“Sarah Windrum is Chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership, at Warwickshire County Council, Cllr Izzi Seccombe is the leader and Monica Fogarty is the Chief Executive, Angela Joyce is CEO of WCG (formerly Warwickshire College Group), Carol Thomas is the Principal and CEO of Coventry College, Trish Willetts is BID Director of Coventry Business Improvement District and Fleur Sexton is the Managing Director of PET-Xi and Deputy Lieutenant, representing Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of the West Midlands, to name but a few.

“We really are passionate about female leaders in the Chambers across the UK and we are fortunate to have a strong female leadership, but there is still work to be done for women in business at all levels.”

Keely Hancox, Operations Manager at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said International Women’s Day had been the perfect date to hold its latest Women in Business Networking Lunch.

“It was a different format to our usual line-up of three speakers because following Louise’s talk, she encouraged women in the audience to share their top tips or lessons learnt from their working life,” she said.

“There were some really interesting and thought-provoking answers and it was great to get everyone involved to share their knowledge and expertise.

“The importance of building a team, resilience, consistency, showing kindness to your colleagues and enjoying your job were messages which resonated with those attending.”


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