On 15 July 2019, the UK government announced the launch of their Investing in Women Code designed to promote women in investing and entrepreneurship in the UK.
According to Gov.UK, the code is “a commitment to support female entrepreneurship in the UK by improving women’s access to the advice, resources and finance needed to build a business.”
The code has gained support from some major financial institutions (such as Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander, TSB, Metro Bank, the Co-operative Bank, Nationwide and Bank of Ireland UK)—but it’s also received some criticism for being just another voluntary code with not much concrete action behind it.
Writing for The Financial Times, entrepreneur Sophia Matveeva says, “Producing a voluntary code that gestures toward the benefits of more training is a typically corporate response: slow-moving and wishy-washy.”
“The emphasis on providing training to women sends the message that if founders like me just learnt more, we would finally gain the easy entry that men have been enjoying all along,” Matveeva continues.
So while these types of governmental initiatives are a step, they are just that: one small step in the long road that needs to be walked to reach gender equality in the workplace.
Today, we are asking what each of us, men and women alike, can do to support women in business.
If you are in a position to support women starting out in your industry, reach out and offer support.
Having access to someone who is already established can be invaluable.
In professional situations, it’s not uncommon for women to feel talked over, ignored, or like they simply get less time to share their ideas.
If you are in a position to do so, take an active role in giving the women in your business their chance to speak.
This one is simple, and something we can all do: support women-led businesses the old-fashioned way—with your cash!
Support female-fronted businesses in your area by making a conscious effort to give them your patronage.
If you read an interesting article written by a woman, share it. If you are the client of a women-led business, share your experience with them online.
Leverage your own social reach to help position deserving women as authorities in their fields—it makes more of a difference than you might realise.
Another way to support women with your money is by giving it to them, either as an investor or by donating to an organisation that helps promote women in business.
For added impact, try finding an organisation or business local to you!
You can find a list of organisations in the UK here.
And if nothing there strikes your fancy, why not start your own?
If you have skills or expertise you can share, consider offering them for free to women through a webinar or a local learning organisation.
If you aren’t able to offer expertise, try thinking of other ways you can support female entrepreneurs. It could be something simple—in her Financial Times article, Sophia Matveeva tells of trying to find a space room for her start-up to use for a meeting. Something small, like the use of a room, can sometimes go a long way.
Make an extra effort to help women get their foot in the door.
If you have the opportunity to hire a qualified woman for a professional role, it’s one big way you can help promote more women in business.
Give your support to women by saying it out loud—share this post and add your thoughts on how you and those around you can do more to promote women in business!