There are only 7 female CEOs in the FTSE 100 companies. In fact, there are twice as many men named John who are CEOs or chairmen of FTSE 100 companies as there are women.
Women in the UK earn 18% less than their male counterparts, on average.
But yet we know that gender diversity is not just morally right, it actually benefits the bottom line and helps a business to grow.
When reading this, do you think:
a) Meh, so what?
b) What?! That can't be right. We should do something!
If you answered a), then this blog is probably not for you. But feel free to stick around anyway, if you like. We're inclusive, you see.
If you answered b), then you have come to the right place. I see reports like these and wonder exactly what's going on, and why, in 2017, we're still so far away from achieving gender equality in the workplace. Of course there are all sorts of inequalities in society, but for me the workplace particularly matters. Businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, the wealth-creators and the job-providers, and they are also where many of us spend most of our time. They set the tone for our daily interactions. They have a responsibility to consider questions of inequality very carefully.
Gender diversity in business has been a passion of mine for years, but recently I started an MBA and have been struck by how few women there are in my intake. But I've also been surprised by how macho the culture feels, how few women feature as guest speakers, how ruthless competitiveness is rewarded and collaboration is seen as a weakness. I don't for one minute think that all women are naturally collaborative (anyone who has seen my performance reviews will know that's far from my greatest strength), or all men are naturally competitive, but I do think society has gendered these behaviours, which is why I describe the culture as macho. I also think the conversations we have on the MBA would be more interesting if a diversity of views were aired - I certainly struggle sometimes to be heard, and I'm sure I'm not alone. It's not just about being allowed into the boardroom, it's about having your contribution valued once you get there.
This, in a nutshell, is why I founded Business Inclusivity. I want to understand why women in the workplace are still so disadvantaged, and I want to help businesses rise to the challenge of becoming more inclusive. I also want to support women to find their own way to navigate the business world without feeling they have to conform to the current culture. Together with all of you, I hope to build a network of wonderful, feisty, troublemaking, bossy, funny, smart women who will help each other to succeed, and who will help change the business landscape for the better. I look forward to sharing this journey with all of you.