Blog: Katy AskewMorrisons ups female managers

Katy Askew | 27 February 2012

At the end of last week, Morrisons revealed that it has increased the number of women in senior management roles by 7% over the past year.

Female representation on the company’s senior management group – the top 100 executives in Morrisons – has increased from 13% to 20% in the last 12 months and is targeted to reach 30% by 2014, the company said.

A spokesperson for the retailer told just-food that one of the most important changes Morrisons has made is in identifying a pipeline of female talent that will allow women to progress through the business “so there is a route to the top”.

The company has also joined the Pearls initiative, a UK wide network supporting women to build their confidence, and established a working group to examine barriers to female advancement.

These moves to take the lid off the 'glass ceiling' are certainly laudable.

Indeed, a straw-poll of women around the just-food office suggested that structural issues are widely thought of as a significant barrier to female progression in the work place. To gain advancement in the male-dominated sphere of senior management, women are – to a greater or lesser extent - fighting against the status quo.

“Men are intimidated by women in power,” one female colleague said. “Clearly, women are better organisers and I think have better instincts,” our feminist champion continued from her soapbox.

Another barrier to women in the workplace was highlighted in a report out this morning (27 February), when figures released by national childcare charity Daycare Trust revealed that the cost of childcare is on the rise

The news comes at a time when the government's austerity measures are reducing the number of families eligible for assistance to meet the bill. In this respect, it seems that many women are being priced out of the workplace because it is simply not economically viable to work. I think it is – perhaps – overly cynical to suggest that this would not be entirely bad news for our (male-dominated) government, which is facing record levels of unemployment.

Cheap jibes aside, it is great to see a company like Morrisons taking an active leadership role on this, bringing an often overlooked issue to the fore.


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