Home HRAnniversaries WISTA-UK’s president message for the International Women’s Day

WISTA-UK’s president message for the International Women’s Day

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Maria Dixon

Maria Dixon

Herewith the Letter from the President of WISTA-UK Mrs. Maria Dixon today Monday, 10 March 2014 on the occasion of the 103rd Anniversary of International Women’s Day:

Dear WISTA-UK members,

Last Saturday 8 March marked the 103rd International Women’s Day, an opportunity to celebrate women’s social, economic and political achievements.

While celebrating the contribution of women to the economy, society and culture, we are still aware of the barriers to full equality both here in the United Kingdom and internationally.
Among all the many different meetings and events organised, my attention was drawn to all the discussions and speeches made at Parliament last week. Important remarks were made and I have
prepared a précis of the event.

The WISTA-UK traditional Grand Debate in commemoration of International Women’s Day will be held in May, and the topic is

“This house believes that the shipping industry is invisible, and if so, whose fault is it? “

A very ambitious topic that hopefully will bring a lot of participation, and we would like you to be
there and be part of it.

Please save the following dates (always starting after 18:00hrs):

  • Wednesday 26 Mach – Last Wednesday WISTA-UK Shipping Drinks- The Bunch of Grapes, 14 Lime Street, London EC3 
  • Thursday 24 April – WISTA-UK AGM – at Reed Smith, Broad Gate House, London 
  • Wednesday 30 April – – Last Wednesday WISTA-UK Shipping Drinks- The Bunch of Grapes, 14 Lime Street, London EC3 
  • Thursday 8 May 2014 – Annual Grand Debate – Auditorium of Clyde & Co, London.  Monday 16 June – WISTA-UK ONE DAY FORUM – Liverpool – This is a ONE day event in Liverpool 
  • Wednesday 30 July – Gala Dinner – WISTA-UK 40th nniversary – IMO Building – London 

We will be sending more information later this week about the WISTA-UK Campaign for 2014 –
Came by SHIP!

Best regards and have a good week

Maria Dixon
President, WISTA-UK

Parliamentary Notes:
Women: Contribution to Economic Life
Motion to Take Note

“In 1911, on the first International Women’s Day, women in the United Kingdom were still
campaigning for the right to vote, to work and to hold public office. On that day, more than a
million women and men attended rallies calling for equality.
Three years later saw the outbreak of the Great War—a centenary that we are about to
mark. The First World War saw a social revolution that would have profound and lasting
effects on women in the United Kingdom, but it built on earlier changes—people moving into
towns and cities, the extension of education to girls and increasing prosperity. In the Great
War many women found themselves for the first time in paid employment. Women began
taking on the vital roles left vacant when men were conscripted into the military. They
worked in munitions factories, agriculture and transport. This movement into the workplace
by women saw a far more fundamental change. Women began to expect more from life and
society. They began to question the status quo. They asked why they could not do the same
jobs or have the same education as men.”

“However, gaining that greater equality has been a long, slow process and we are not there
yet. Women and girls are still expected to do more in the home than men and boys. The pay
gap remains. They are less likely to take leading roles in business and public life. Yet we have
also seen major shifts in all areas of women’s lives over the 100 years since the Great War.
Today women run FTSE 100 companies, bring home gold medals and go into space”

“Of course, we need to encourage our daughters as much as our sons from the start.
Today, girls in the UK are outperforming boys at school and university: last year 24.8% of
GCSE exams sat by girls were graded A* or A, compared to 17.6% of those sat by boys.
Many girls are highly ambitious and want to get ahead, with over half of them saying they
want to be a leader in their profession one day.
At A-level, the subjects that can lead to some of the highest-paying careers, particularly
maths and science remain dominated by boys. In 2013, almost eight in 10 physics papers
were taken by boys. Only 30% of women with STEM qualifications now work in science,
engineering or technology occupations, compared to 50% of men with STEM qualifications.”
“We know that women still carry the greater responsibility for home and for children, which
is why the home/life balance also has to be addressed. “

“We are seeing girls outperform boys at school, although not always in subjects that will lead
to the brightest of careers, and we are seeking to assist men and women to stay in work
when they have families. What happens when women are in work? Two in three girls think
that there are not enough women in leadership positions in the UK, and for many of them
this lack of role models affects their sense of their own ability to succeed.”

“We are seeking to encourage women to aim high in the corporate world. Our Think, Act,
Report initiative provides a simple framework to help companies think about gender equality
in their workforces on key issues such as recruitment, retention, promotion and pay. There
are now more than 170 major companies supporting the initiative, representing more than 2
million people.”

“At the top, we need change, hence the importance of the work being led by the noble Lord,
Lord Davies, to increase the number of women on boards. We now have more than 20% of
FTSE 100 board posts being held by women, up from 12.5% two years ago, with only two
companies, Antofagasta plc (Chilean based copper mining group) and Glencore Xstrata
plc (anglo-swiss multinational commodity trading & mining company, HQ in Switzerland &
registered office in Jersey), still without a woman in post. “

“However, we need women at every level, and we need women entrepreneurs. More than 14
million women are now working—more than ever before. Businesses set up and run by
women contribute £70 billion to our economy. We have also acted to encourage and support
more women to start their own businesses. The Women’s Business Council has made
recommendations to improve the health and competitiveness of our economy, focusing on
four key areas it has identified where girls and women face particular challenges or
difficulties.”

“In terms of public life, the 2010 general election had a record number of women candidates
and there are now more female Members of the House of Commons than at any other time:
147 women, including six Asian women MPs where previously there were none. But that is
not enough and it is nowhere near 50%. We now have 182 women who are Members of this
House. As I said earlier, they are disproportionately active in our House. It is worth bearing
that in mind for those making any appointments.”

“In 2012-13, 37% of new public appointments made by Whitehall departments were women,
and our aspiration is that 50% of new public appointees should be women by the end of this
Parliament. However, we know there is much more to do to ensure that our institutions are
fully reflective of the communities that they serve, so that women and girls fulfil their
potential for their own benefit and

for that of their families, but also for our economy.”

“A 21st century society in which just 23% of MPs are women, with one female judge in the
Supreme Court and only four female CEOs in the FTSE 100 is almost intolerable.”

“Last night in another place, a reception was held by Coca-Cola. I did not myself attend, but I
will share with noble Lords the comments made by the global chairman of Coca-Cola, Muhtar
Kent. When asked about the future, he said:
“The real drivers of the post American world, I believe, won’t be China, won’t be
India, won’t be Brazil, and won’t be any nation. The real drivers are going to be
women: women entrepreneurs, women business, political, academic and cultural
leaders, and women innovators. The truth is that women already are the most
dynamic and fastest-growing economic force in the world today”. “

“I applaud the Lord Mayor of London, Fiona Woolf, who has undertaken a great deal of work
on diversity during her year as mayor, developing a toolkit for what the key issues are for
women as they go through the workplace: flexible time, mentors, work-life balance—
arrangements that technology can make much easier. I have been very interested by the
mentoring. Men often ring me and say that they have been mentoring a woman and tell me
how impressive she is, to which I say, “I am so pleased that you have met her and understand
her. I’ve known her for several years”. Therefore, I do not know what the mentoring is doing
for the women, but it is very good indeed for the men and has taught them a thing or two.
There are four chief executives of FTSE 100 companies, and there will soon be two chairmen,
but of course, much more needs to be done. We are learning more about how that can be
achieved.”

“However, the world situation is optimistic. Quite soon, there will be four more female
millionaires, and in the UK female millionaires will outnumber male millionaires by 2020. By
2025, women will control 60% of the UK’s wealth; globally, women control £13 trillion, while
70% of all US and UK personal wealth is held by over-65s, and the majority are women. In
China, one in three of the millionaires is female. He who pays the piper calls the tune, and
overall I am optimistic.”

“The return of women to the workplace after having children is not without its personal costs. As a working mother I cursed school inset days and came to dread the school holidays. 

Racked by guilt that I was not spending enough time with my children, I searched around for
clubs and activities that I hoped my children would enjoy so that they would not have to
spend quite so much time with the childminder. I reduced my working week so that I got
home earlier and could go out for walks and picnics to spend some quality time with them,
but I was always left with the feeling that I had somehow let them down, although they
never said anything to compound that feeling.”

“As a country we must do everything we can to encourage women to return to the workplace
after having families. We can now see examples of employers who, instead of denigrating
the fact that women go off to have families, are recognising that the skills gained in this
experience far outweigh those of their male colleagues. Any woman who has negotiated with
a three year-old determined to participate in a life-threatening activity and done so without
the resultant tears and tantrums in a very public place can well deal with negotiations
between her male colleagues’ testosterone-driven ego trips. Women also bring a different
perspective to problem solving which, together with their male colleagues’ approach, often
produces a more rounded solution.”

Westminster, Week of the 3rd to the 7th of March 2014

 

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