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Women's minister rejects quotas.

WOMEN need confidence not quotas to make the step up in business, according to the minister for women and equalities Jo Swinson.

Ms Swinson was speaking at the first of a series of regional Business is Good for Equalities roadshows hosted by Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce.

"What women need is confidence, not quotas," she said. "So rather than telling companies what to do, we're encouraging them to see the real business benefits of taking voluntary action. Our approach is beginning to pay off.

"We have already seen the biggest ever jump in the number of women on boards and it doesn't stop there.

"Many of the UK's leading companies are now reporting on gender equality throughout their workforces under our Think, Act, Report scheme and the Women's Business Council is investigating how to help remove barriers to female success.

"This ongoing work will help even more women rise to the top and give the economy a real boost.

"But we also recognise there is still much more to be done to harness women's talents and help them achieve their goals. We have trained 5,000 new business mentors specifically to advise women, and we are introducing flexible parental leave and extending flexible working to really help women reach their potential."

Lorna Fellowes, managing director of Triton Showers, who also spoke at the event, said her commitment to equality had been formed during time in South Africa many years ago and the sight of people being treated as inferiors because of the colour of their skin or their sex.

She said: "It was absolutely shocking and that is probably what began my stern feelings on equality. As a company, we see the person and their skills and do everything we can to support every individual."

Chamber president, Amrik Bhabra, added: "It was a very interesting event."

CAPTION(S):

SPEAKING UP FOR WOMEN: Jo Swinson (front, left) with Amrik Bhabra and (back, left- right) Lorna Fellowes, Hilton Leslie (Equalities Office) and Angela Tellyn (Chamber)
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 8, 2012
Words:334
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