Dame Cilla Snowball DBE – Women’s Business Council annual event 2017

On 2 November 2017, the Women’s Business Council held their annual event at the House of Commons, generously sponsored by Mims Davies MP. The event was a huge success, and provided an opportunity to celebrate the efforts of those companies and individuals who are pioneering innovative, industry-led solutions to support the advancement of women in the workplace.

We had a fantastic range of attendees representing all parts of the pipeline of talent, from year 9 and 10 students, inspiring female entrepreneurs and male agents of change.

We had a number of inspiring speakers at the event. Mims Davies MP gave the welcoming address, and spoke from her personal experience as a woman in politics, and as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Women in Parliament.

The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP gave a keynote speech highlighting the upcoming centenary of women’s suffrage, the great strides made in the equalities agenda over the last few years, and work still to be done, including the importance of measuring and bridging the gender pay gap.

In my own keynote speech, I reflected on the successes of the previous year, and celebrated the launch of a number of Women’s Business Council reports and toolkits – the latest WBC progress report, The Pipeline Effect to enable gender parity beyond middle management, and The Age of Success, which includes initiatives to support older apprentices, flexible working opportunities and best practice around women returners and carers.

The Women’s Business Council were pleased to note the Government’s new £5m fund which will generate many more critical returner opportunities. Women’s Business Council members have a strong track record in returner programmes and we will be working to help shape private sector initiatives over the course of the coming year. In support of this, we invited Deborah Ginja, an alumni of the Vodafone Return to Work Reconnect programme to speak about her experience. She gave a truly inspiring speech about taking 12 years out to raise a family, before a successful return to her corporate career via the Vodafone Reconnect programme.

I would also like to congratulate once again all of our fantastic winners of the 2017 Women’s Business Council awards.

The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP, Dame Cilla Snowball DBE and Deborah Ginja with teachers and students from Northfleet School for Girls.

Mims Davies MP

Mims Davies MP delivering the welcoming address.

The Rt Hon Anne Milton MP delivering her keynote speech.

Deborah Ginja speaking about her experience of the Vodafone Return to Work Reconnect programme.