05 March 2020
• Committee becomes STC’s third business growth group
• Panel recognises importance of gender equality & diversity in workplace and society
• Strategy to promote STC businesses as ‘employers of the future’
The Silverstone Technology Cluster (STC), supported by Silverstone Park, has confirmed a new Gender Equality & Diversity Committee to encourage both latest practices in business and an overhaul of outdated data – the so-called #DataGap – that it believes is having a negative effect on society.
MEPC’s Roz Bird, Commercial Director at Silverstone Park and STC Chair, will head the Committee which will also comprise industry experts Julia Muir, Cristiana Pace, Helen Wylde and Hannah Ingram-Moore.
Its first event will take place on 15 October. The venue and further details will be confirmed in due course…
Roz commented: “As a surveyor, championing women in to construction, as well as Chair of Silverstone Technology Cluster, I am excited to be forming a new Gender Equality and Diversity STC Committee, with people experienced in automotive, motorsport, engineering and the corporate world in order to bring latest thinking and practices to the STC.
“Gender equality in the workplace is not a women’s issue; it’s society’s issue. Sexist behaviours come from both men and women, and behaviours that promote equality can come from men or women.
“All growing businesses are worried about skills shortages, so every sector of industry needs to consider its working environment and make changes to ensure all the best young people at school today want to join their industry.
“Companies need to stay culturally relevant to society in order to be successful or they will become obsolete and won’t achieve their growth plans.
“The STC plans to help its members understand the issues and take the subject out of the ‘too difficult box’, ensuring the businesses we represent are the employers of choice in the local area.”
The Gender Equality & Diversity Committee becomes the third business growth group launched by the STC in 2020 – already it has held one event, Doing Business with China, with a second, Overcoming Growth Challenges, scheduled for later this month (26 March).
Just one example that the Committee has highlighted of the #DataGap leading to gender bias is Caroline Criado Perez’s book ‘Invisible Women’ which researches how women are at greater risk in car accidents because crash test dummies are designed around men.
With the Committee’s objectives in mind, Julia, Cristiana, Helen and Hannah have added some opinions on gender equality and diversity.
Julia, Founder of the Automotive 30% Club, said: “We must start the conversation positively by explaining that gender equality will be a ‘win-win’ for both women and men. That’s why businesses with a gender balance have better employee engagement, productivity and profitability.
“We need to understand what holds women back; but more importantly we need to identify what moves us all forward and do more of that.”
Fellow STC Ambassador Cristiana, Founder of ENovation Consulting Ltd, added: “It is very sad that in 2020 we are still talking about inclusion and diversity.
“You would expect that by now any company would have embraced diversity as an important part of their strategic vision.
“It is well known that a diverse mix in the workplace leads to better discussions and decision, and to more creative ideas.”
Helen, Founder and Managing Director of Sooth Ltd, said: “A huge amount of data we use in society and business is from the 1950s, so is massively out of date and actually now applies to only a small speck of the world’s population.
“Building new data sets could give us a totally new way of understanding and improve how we live and work together.”
Hannah, Co-Founder of Maytrix Group, said: “The STC championing gender quality and diversity, particularly in the construction and engineering sectors, is monumental and allows that gap to close up a bit more.
“With female talent encouraged to join those sectors, the importance then falls on retaining those people for economic growth and financial stability.”
The Gender Equality & Diversity Committee has been launched during STC founding member Silverstone Park’s week of activities in the run-up to International Women’s Day (this Sunday, 8 March).
Meanwhile, prior to the Committee’s 15 October event, Roz, Julia, Cristiana, Helen and Hannah will all be speakers at the STC’s showcase Annual Conference on 21 May (‘Early Bird’ ticket deadline is tomorrow 6 March).
Photo shows, clockwise from top left: Hannah Ingram-Moore, Julia Muir and Cristiana Pace, Helen Wylde and Roz Bird.