Why are there still so few women in the top jobs in business? Entrepreneur Hilary Devey is on a mission to discover why men still dominate in senior roles. Hilary's motivated by the business benefits that come with mixed gender leadership and she's determined to find solutions that could transform women's prospects - starting with changes inside her own company.

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Hilary Devey is one of a rare breed – a successful female entrepreneur who has built her own international business empire from scratch. Even though more than half of Britain’s graduates are women, and nearly half our workers are women, the vast majority of top jobs are held by men. Hilary wants to find out why.

 

Episode One
Hilary embarks on a mission to test her own assumptions, and to find out how much competitive edge the business world is missing by not retaining and promoting its female talent. The numbers are stark - in Britain’s top companies, although almost equal numbers of men and women are recruited at junior graduate level, at senior management, executive and board level, fewer than a fifth are female.

Hilary concludes that this is a shocking waste of talent, and potentially damaging the quality of leadership. Hilary visits multi-national company Procter and Gamble, to find out what they’ve done to address the lack of women in senior roles.

Hilary goes on to explore some of the factors that make it difficult for women to progress in business – including what she sees as the biggest factor impacting on women’s career – balancing the demands of work with motherhood.

Following an audit by gender balance expert Avivah Wittenberg-Cox of her company, Pall-Ex, Hilary resolves to redress the gender balance in her own business.

Episode Two
Hilary investigates solutions that will help more women climb the career ladder, enabling them to overcome the obstacles preventing them from reaching the top jobs.

Hilary travels to Scandinavia, home to a remarkable attempt to redress the business gender balance. Four years ago, Norway imposed a gender quota, requiring at least 40% of the boards of big companies to be female. Hilary discovers the EU is now considering imposing a quota across Europe.

Back in Britain, Hilary learns about government plans to adopt another Scandinavian idea - shared parental leave. She also investigates how companies such as Ford and BT are helping women in their careers with initiatives such as on-site crèches and flexible working. Spurred on by what she’s seen, Hilary decides to introduce flexible working at her own company, and examines a scheme designed to help women build their confidence in the workplace. She lends her support to a voluntary target of 25% women on the boards of the FTSE 100 top companies.

Hilary embarks on the final stage of her journey – going on a publicity drive to encourage women to apply for flexible work roles at her company.

 


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