This Sunday is International Women’s Day so we’re celebrating by looking at some of the companies in the UK who champion gender equality.

The odds are stacked against women in the workplace, with the UK ranking 21st in the Global Gender Gap Index 2020 rankings and with an estimated time of 100 years needed to close the gap, it seems there’s a long way to go.

Not only does gender inequality affect pay, but spans across many aspects of employment. There are discrepancies in gender bias, inflexible working conditions and stigma attached to certain roles. Nothing highlights this more than the fact that only 22% of senior leadership roles are held by women.

While the hard work has just begun on closing this unequal divide, there are some companies triumphing this opportunity to offer transparent employment for both men and women.

They’re taking advantage of the ‘gender dividend’ – the positive impact showing that gender diverse companies tend to produce above trend returns, have lower risks and better safety records.  

Here are out top 5 and what we think about them

  1. Diageo

As an employer, Diageo tops the charts on their commitment to gender equality. Their Board of Directors consists of 44% women and the positive message filters down through the workplace hierarchy. They offer 26 weeks fully paid maternity leave (with four weeks full pay for new fathers) and have signed the United Nation’s Women’s Empowerment Principles which supports women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Petaurum says, “The work Diageo are doing is fantastic and they’re showing to be leaders in this important movement. As a global company, operating in 180 countries, they’re putting to good use the diverse talent within their reach, whether that be male or female, and setting examples for other multinationals.

  • Sky

Sky have come back from a pretty mean position where, only 2 years ago, their gender pay gap was 11.5% with a 40% bonus pay gap. Fast forward to 2020 where Sky have a commitment to engaging 50% of women in leadership roles. They also have a Women@Sky scheme, where experienced females can inspire the careers of juniors. It also provides a network for parents, encouraging a better work/life balance. They don’t just stop at gender equality – they have extensive diversity networks for LGBTQ+, differently abled, ethnic and culturally diverse employees.

Petaurum says, “With such a swift turn around by Sky within just two years shows their solid commitment to the cause. It’s inspiring to see such support for other groups within their employees to make sure that through including people, they don’t exclude others.”

  • Accenture

In 2019, Accenture set out their goal to achieve a gender balanced workforce by 2025. Today they are reporting 36% of their Board of Directors, and 27.5% of their global management committee, are women. Their goal will be reached through initiatives such as working flexibly, creating employee networks to develop support systems and introducing mentor and training programmes for personal development.

Petaurum says, “We wanted to highlight the ongoing work of Accenture to show actual development in real time. They have set the deadline of 2025, and we can see that they are actually putting their words into action to achieve an equal workforce. We’re impressed to see their figures, showing stats such as 48% of new hires are women!

  • Vodafone

While Vodafone still have a long way to go in closing the gender pay gap, their equality initiatives are something to shout about. Their maternity policy is considered to be one of the best in the UK with new mothers offered 16 weeks’ maternity leave on full pay. This is considerably more than the statutory leave of 6 weeks at 90% pay! They’re also addressing unconscious bias with managerial training and support networks.

Petaurum says, “Gender equality doesn’t stop at the wages employees take home. Creating a positive working culture means taking into consideration employee needs, home lives and personal situations. We’re happy to see such good maternity policies; it would be interesting to know their stance on paternity pay and leave!”

  • Unilever

Unilever offer an all-round holistic approach to their employee responsibilities. They have shared paternal and maternity leave policies and gender balanced outreach to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates, trainees and networks for women. Not only that but Unilever offer paid time off for bereavement and fertility procedures and back-up childcare when a parent’s regular support isn’t available.

Petaurum says, “Unilever were one of the only organisations to report near pay parity in 2017. It is good to see that, three years down the line, the hard work is still being done. Offering better opportunities to develop and progress in the workplace are one more step towards overall equality in the future.”

How does your company compare?

Contact us for more information on how you can achieve gender equality within your organisation: