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A question of female rights at work; INSIDE VIEW.

WOMEN have been very much on our minds this week. In terms of work, I hasten to add.

Research carried out by recruitment specialist OfficeTeam revealed that the Midlands emerges as the UK's area with the lowest percentage of women in management.

And a total of 54 per cent of HR directors believe women are not advancing their careers on a par with men in the workplace nationwide.

So you can understand why a gathering of nearly 100 women to discuss this very subject in a Birmingham city centre office this week oozed feistiness.

They were attending the launch at PwC of a "Women in Business Toolkit," devised by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce.

There were some strong female characters among the panel that led the debate and in the audience and there was an undercurrent for the issue to be moved on from the normal talk about women being held back by the "nappy syndrome."

There were, of course, the very valid arguments that women, more than men, were expected to juggle their careers with the responsibility of parenthood.

Delegates wanted a level playing field; flexible hours rather than traditional ways of working; and to move away from focusing on how you look, sound or dress.

And there was a consensus that this could be done by investing women with more confidence about their capabilities.

And Kate Cooper, founder of New Optimists, an online forum for scientists and a member of the panel, summed it up by saying women under 40 today "now assume they can get to the top - and they can."

That is a sea change when you consider it was only 85 years ago that women were given voting rights equal with men and only 43 years since they were granted equal pay rights. The toolkit can be accessed at: www.Birmingham-Chamber.com/WiBToolkit | John Lamb's views are not necessarily those of Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, where he is Director of Press and PR.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 22, 2013
Words:332
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