Gender Equality in Focus: Responsible Business in Action

Business in the Community’s Gender Equality Campaign is the UK’s leading employer network dedicated to advancing equality between men and women at work. We are all about changing the system, not the women.

The Gender Equality team supports employers to: tackle the gender pay gap through greater transparency and bespoke action; attract, progress and retain the best talent; and create a workplace culture free from bias and underpinned by inclusive behaviours.

During Responsible Business in Action's focus on gender we are calling on all organisations to publish their parental and carers’ leave and pay policies on their website. This is an easy, light-touch change that all employers can make which brings great benefits to employers, employee and job applicants. It helps to attract, retain and recruit talent, signals that you are family-friendly and have policies in place to support your employees to take on their fair share of caring responsibilities. Being open about these issues also shows that you have a culture where employees can speak openly about their family commitments without fear of how it might affect their careers.

We are also celebrating The Gender Equality Award finalists who are high-achieving organisations, which place gender equality at the core of their businesses. They have a strong strategic focus on attracting, recruiting, progressing and retaining women.

This year we are delighted to announce our Gender Equality Award finalists: Accenture who are using technology to attract female talent among graduates; Deloitte who are demonstrating that success is reliant on having the right culture and gender equality is central to this; Fujitsu wants to involve more women in their plans to shape a better world through technology

Our campaigns
Gender pay gap reporting legislation requires employers with 250 or more employees to publish their pay gaps. All required gender equality partners have published their gender pay gap on time. 92% published a gender pay gap narrative, compared to half nationally1. 75% published an action plan to tackle their gender pay gap, compared to one fifth nationally2. Over the past two years, we have produced research and practical tools to encourage greater transparency and action.

Equal Lives is a groundbreaking piece of research on parenthood and caring in the workplace. The report reveals the challenges faced by men and women in combining care and work, and provides practical actions and innovative case studies to achieve equality. Learn more about Equal Lives on Youtube.

Headlines from the finalists for BITC's Responsible Business Awards 2019: The Gender Equality Award
1. Gender parity is a real goal
Not content with improving the gender balance, some companies like Accenture have a simple, if ambitious, target that by 2025 it will have as many women working in the business as men.

2. Making use of technology to attract female talent
Women are still comparatively underrepresented in the technology industry. So, Accenture has taken to using technology, such as sensory booths at university events, for example, to draw on female talent pools and make them interested in a career in technology. It has worked. Between 2017 and 2018, 4,762 women registered for Accenture-supported events, with female registration increasing by 55.7%.

3. Senior management changes culture 
Changing recruitment processes to remove any hard-wired biases shown by senior managers is part of gender equality strategies. Some have made strides to de-bias their processes through compulsory training for all decision-making executives. At Fujitsu, 37.6% of hires by internal teams were female after being trained on writing inclusive job ads and unconscious bias. Before this, just 24% of their hires were female.
4. Gender equality built into performance objectives
More companies are making sure that business leaders have gender diversity measures as part of their objectives. At Deloitte, all operating unit leaders have their people-related metrics measured by gender – something that is considered in year-end appraisals.
5. 50/50 shortlisting works
Fujitsu uses 50/50 shortlists – making sure it puts as many women forward for jobs as men – to address male dominance, particularly in technical and sales roles. This, along with the use of an Inclusive Recruitment checklist, has had a positive impact, dispelling the assumption that there are not enough women available to apply.

1. Equality and Human Rights Commision (2018) Closing the gender pay gap. Available at
2. ibid.