BBC signs up to gender equality survey
Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, has signed-up to an ambitious survey aiming to better understand how and why women are undervalued at work, in the hope of educating businesses and levelling the playing field.
Alongside a host of other major employers, the BBC is asking women and men from across the organisation to take part in the ground-breaking study, called Project 28-40, which has just launched by Opportunity Now - the gender equality campaign from Business in the Community (BITC).
The BBC is fully supportive of the project’s aim of addressing longstanding issues such as barriers to progression women face at work and the pay gap between men and women – topics which continue to be relevant despite an abundance of talented, ambitious women. It is believed to be the biggest poll of its type ever conducted, with a target of 100,000 women to be surveyed across the UK and Republic of Ireland by mid-December. It will mainly, although not exclusively, gauge the views of women aged between 28 and 40 years old – determined as the period where the gap between female and male career progression widens.
Amanda Rice, Head of Diversity said “the latest workforce figures, published in the Equality Information Report 2013, show that while 48.7% of the BBC’s total workforce is female, female senior managers are less well represented. We also know females are well represented in some areas of work, for example radio and television production but far fewer women work in technology and engineering roles. We recognise the need to address any gender imbalance and the findings of this survey will help us to drill down to the specific actions that we need to take to create a working environment that enables women, throughout the BBC to thrive and achieve their full potential at every level and in every area of work.”
The survey will enable women to describe what is important to them and explores cultural aspects of their experience, including societal attitudes, as well as practical issues such as maternity leave, where appropriate. Project 28-40 will also target older and younger women. Men will also be invited to take part so that their experiences and attitudes can be compared with those of women. This will help to identify specific issues affecting women’s careers.
The scale of the survey, will enable significant conclusions to be drawn on the female working population and will better diagnose why women are not being promoted at the same rate as men during this critical phase for career development. Data will be used as part of a longer term project to inform and educate companies in levelling the playing field at work by acknowledging then addressing historic disparities relating to women.
The survey is open until Sunday 15th December. In the first quarter of 2014, Opportunity Now will hold focus groups to explore themes that emerge from the research. The initial findings of the report will be launched during Business in the Community’s Responsible Business Week (31 March – 4 April 2014).
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