International Women's Day
On Thursday 7th March, the day before International Women’s Day, PA Consulting hosted an event to celebrate women within the firm. This was also the first event to launch the Women’s Network at PA Consulting, so it was amazing to see so many people in attendance, both women and men.
The event was made up of speakers discussing gender equality and women in the workplace – and the speakers also shared their personal reflections. Harriet Oppenheimer, sponsor of PA Women’s Network, led the panel which included Rebecca Hilsenrath, CEO of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Peninah Thomson OBE, CEO of the Mentoring Foundation and Scott Paton, Senior Partner at PA Consulting.
Rebecca Hilsenrath started the evening off with a few astonishing facts including that women typically earn less than men from the very first day they graduate – and that their male counterparts are twice as likely to be senior directors. Hilsenrath insisted that there were two main groups that needed to be at the forefront of any strategy to combat these statistics and decrease the gender pay gap. These included the government, to create flexible working environments, and employers, to enforce these environments as well as looking at their recruitment processes and what they are doing to create a diverse environment.
Peninah Tomson has written four books on women and business leadership, and talked about her personal journey whilst working at the UK Foreign office and how she made the transition to NATO. Tomson also talked about a piece of research she commissioned which looked at how women were not progressing as much as their male counterparts within business. This research started as a small sample group and expanded, eventually being published and reprinted five times. Tomson wanted to highlight the issues faced by women, but also the businesses they worked for.
Last but not least, Scott Paton reflected on how some workplace initiatives don’t hit the mark and how important it is to create an environment that shows women they can progress in their career. Paton felt that there were three key requirements for raising awareness in a firm; firstly, ensuring equal opportunities for women within a firm, secondly to share stories and thirdly to raise awareness within the leadership team to help challenge behaviours.
One of the key questions asked by the audience was for the speakers to give advice for the women in the room – Paton suggested to be bold and confident in challenging norms. Tomson agreed, and added that having courage to take some risks is vital.
As part of our commitment to build a more inclusive and diverse PA Consulting, this event was another step towards creating a positive future.