Women underrepresented in top charity and digital jobs

Research by The Fawcett Society found widespread continuing inequality in positions of power across UK society.

Joe Lepper | 13th Jan 20

Men continue to dominate a raft of top roles over women across digital communication and charity sectors, according to a charity report into inequality across public life, business and politics.

The Sex and Power 2020 report by gender equality charity The Fawcett Society found that women account for only a fifth of social media company chief executives posts and just over a quarter (27 per cent) of charity CEOs.

Inequality extends across communications and civil society roles.

Only around a third (36 per cent) of chairs and 23 percent of chief executives of professional bodies are women.

In the museum and galleries sector only 23 per cent of chairs and 35 per cent of directors are women.

This lack of diversity trend in top roles is mirrored across politics, with women making up 34 per cent of MPs, 27 per cent of the House of Lords and 32 per cent of political lobby journalists.

Quotas and targets

“Despite much lip service about the importance of having women in top jobs, today’s data shows we are still generations away from achieving anything close to equality.  We are wasting women’s talent and skills,” said Sam Smethers, Fawcett Chief Executive.

“Male dominance of positions of power remains strong as this 2020 Sex and Power Index shows.  If we want change, we have to make it happen.  That means quotas, targets and policy interventions to remove the barriers to women’s progression.”

The Fawcett Society is also carrying out research with race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust on the pay and progression of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) women in the workplace.

Our research also shows the alarming lack of women of colour in the top tiers of many sectors. Fawcett’s new project with the Runnymede Trust on the pay and progression of women of colour will shine a spotlight on the specific challenges and barriers they face in the workplace,” said Smethers.

Dr Zubaida Haque, Runnymede Trust Deputy Director added: It’s astonishing to think that there has been a significant and growing black and ethnic minority population in this country (now one in six people) since the arrival of Empire Windrush in 1948 and yet we have never had a non-white Supreme Court judge, or a Civil Service Permanent Secretary or a CEO of FTSE-100 companies who is a woman of colour.

“There have been positive steps and achievements towards gender equality in some key areas of public life, but we cannot assume that generic gender initiatives and targets will also address racial discrimination issues for women of colour.