Most Members of Parliament have backed an Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT) recommendation to extend the ‘Women in Finance Charter’ to cover all businesses in the UK.
The Women in Finance Charter
AAT was the first, and for a long time the only, professional accountancy body to sign the Women in Finance Charter, which launched in 2016. The Charter is a commitment by HM Treasury and signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry, which asks financial services firms to implement four key actions:
- To have a named senior executive responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion
- To set internal targets for gender diversity in senior management positions
- To publish progress annually
- To ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity
Although the Charter has now been signed by just over 300 financial services firms, its impact currently remains limited to the finance sector of the British economy. AAT are now pushing to change that.
Extending and renaming the charter
AAT would like to see the Charter renamed as the ‘Women in Business Charter’, reflecting a widening of its scope to cover all sectors, from Government departments, local authorities and charities to listed companies and SMEs.
A recent AAT survey (undertaken by YouGov) indicated that most MPs (54%) would support this change to incorporate all sectors of the economy. Only 15% of MPs said they do not support such a change, while 9% don’t know either way.
Phil Hall, AAT head of policy & public affairs, said:
“AAT… knows closing the gap leads to a more diverse and creative workforce, broadens the skills base and can increase creativity and innovation – to say nothing of the obvious issue of fairness and the financial imperative for change.
“However, AAT believes that much more could be done. Huge numbers of businesses, large and small, could improve their awareness and understanding of what needs to be done and make necessary changes, if the Charter was widened to include all sectors of the economy.”
Mr Hall says the AAT is pleased with MPs’ support for the change and the AAT look forward to working with them to make it happen.
To find out more about the Charter or become a signatory, visit HM Treasury’s Charter page. What do you think of the Women in Finance charter? Please share your thoughts below.