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NPL launches new Gender Equality group on International Women's Day

As part of our commitment to equal opportunities and diversity, NPL has launched a brand-new Gender Equality group to celebrate and support the development of female colleagues, all in time for International Women's Day 2019

The Gender Equality group is an exciting move for NPL, which has always been a proud employer of a diverse and inclusive workforce.

The group is part of the Diversity and Inclusion taskforce and builds on the great achievements of NPL's current initiatives, such as Springboard, Project Juno and the publication of the gender pay gap report.

As part of the launch, there is also a range of gender equality activities planned throughout the year to help NPL to meet the challenges that women still face at work.

During her talk at the launch of the Gender Equality group, Penny Owen, Director for Commercial Directorate and Executive Sponsor for the gender equality event, said:

"What's important is that whatever career we choose, in STEM or otherwise, both men and women feel equally able to contribute, develop and progress. There’s good evidence that diverse teams and organisations perform better than more homogeneous groups, particularly in avoiding the pitfalls of ‘group-think’. But why does that mean NPL needs a gender equality group?

"To start with, there are some obvious statistics: we have fewer women than men in NPL, particularly in our Science teams, and fewer women than men in senior positions, which shows in our gender pay gap.

"We've had success in achieving Juno Practitioner status, the first non-academic organisation to do so, and we're already taking steps to address issues identified from that exercise, such as enhancements to the promotion process to ensure fairness and consistency across the whole of NPL, career development and flexible working to support all employees to achieve their desired work life balance.

"In a recently-published report on perceptions of gender equality, 74% UK female employees say their workplace culture makes it more challenging for women to advance their careers than men – and 42% of men agree. Does this mean that men are discriminating against women? Well, probably not, at least not deliberately by most men, or even most women. It's much more subtle, for all genders.

"This isn't just about women and their career aspirations; it's also about enabling men to make choices about their career development and their family lives and to address gender stereotypes that can be just as uncomfortable for men.

"There's a role for all of us, men and women, team-members and managers, to play in building a culture and environment that continues to reduce the barriers to career development and fulfilment for everyone."

The new Gender Equality Group will focus attention in four areas at NPL:

ATTRACT – to enhance equality measures in recruitment and internal role opportunities

ENABLE – to provide a more level field around promotions and career opportunities

DEVELOP – to create additional opportunities for networking

CULTURE & ENVIRONMENT – to create a working environment fit for gender balance

As part of the launch, author and British diplomat, Bryony Mathew, is set to give a talk about her experiences of gender equality, science and the workplace. Bryony, a scientist by training, works for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to promote gender equality in STEM and has recently launched her new book, Blue Broccoli and Nanobots, to counter children's beliefs that girls aren't good at maths or science.

Find out more about the work NPL is doing around diversity and inclusion

11 Mar 2019