Photo : EY Women’s Network were crowned our winner. The award was presented by Kayleigh Bateman and Alison Fearn (far left and far right), representing our category sponsors WeAreTheCity
Our finalists are all amazing. Network groups truly rock. The networks are all driving equality in the workplace and beyond and each support a more inclusive society through their awesome work. You only need to look at the diversity in boardrooms to see there’s obviously a long way to go in many organisations where black and ethnic minority and female representation is low – and they lack any LGBT role models. With reported bullying and harassment levels in the workplace on the increase and costing the UK economy £18 billion pounds in lost producivity, there is still inequality in pay levels between men and women in many roles, 62% of LGBT students going back in the closet when they enter the workforce – it’s clear that network groups that drive change and offer a safe space for employees, and a place to seek confidential support, are needed. They are doing a fantastic job and challenging their organisations to ensure equality and diversity are not just buzz words.
WINNER : EY, EY Women’s Network
With over 3,000 members across 28 offices and 100 volunteers organising 80 engaging events in 2015, the network inspires change and progress. They promote diverse teams, inclusive leadership and raise awareness of gender issues. The network provides opportunities for their members to be inspired, connect and develop internally and externally. They hold events throughout the working day to flex to members requirements and film events for those who cannot attend. Almost 90% of attendees learn something tangible each time. Their ‘selfie’ initiative ‘Igniting Change’ saw people globally, male and female, make pledges on how they would accelerate change towards gender parity.
Follow EY on Twitter @EY_UKI
Lloyds Banking Group, Breakthrough Network
The network has over 12,000 members and is incredibly active in supporting the development of women at all levels within the organisation. In the last twelve months the network has held an Annual National Breakthrough Week, held 8 national events for all members to get involved in, held almost 120 regional events across the country that successfully reached colleagues who may not be able to travel outside their locality and they expanded their dedicated Parenting arm. The network has also developed their Mentoring scheme, which now has more than 10,000 women and men registered as mentors and mentees.
Follow the Lloyds Banking Group diversity team on Twitter @LBG_Diversity
RBS, RBS Focused Women’s Network
The ultimate objective of the network is to develop the female talent pipeline and create a voice that would be listened to by the business, for the business. They have an established membership of circa 10,000 members globally in more than 30 countries with 12 regional committees. The network provides opportunities for their members to explore career paths within RBS and they support them through a range of workshops and events to help them develop the confidence to apply for senior positions, meet senior female leaders, share experiences, get support from male members through mentorship and coaching, continuously learn and develop, and most importantly – network and support each other.
Follow the network on Twitter @RBS_FW
The Environment Agency, Women’s Network
The primary function of the network is to challenge the organisation to ensure it encourages, enables and equips women in the workforce to be the best they can be. Their mission is to enable, equip and encourage women to reach their full potential in the workplace. Success is due to the 1,400 members (28% of their female population) and friends (men), the committee of 40 volunteers that host events in local offices and their online space that builds a sense of community across geographical boundaries. Their ultimate aim is not to exist at all, because the need for the network would have gone. But for as long as it takes the barriers women face to be dismantled, the network will continue with their awesome work.
Follow the networks Co-Chair, Keela Shackell-Smith, on Twitter @KeelaShackell
The University of Nottingham, Women’s Network
The network provides an informal forum for debate and raising awareness, ensuring that women are not unfairly disadvantaged in order to promote diversity and equal opportunities both within and outside the institution. The network acts as a mechanism for communication with the University, including raising issues of University practice and procedure. Recent women’s events at the University include the Women’s Staff Network Conference 2015, the International Women’s Day Public Lecture, Building Your Network from Scratch and Playing to Win with Apprentice star and role model Karen Brady CBE.
Follow the University of Nottingham equality team on Twitter @UoNEandD
HIGHLY COMMENDED : The University of Sheffield, Women@TUoS NETwork
Launched in 2012, the network has flourished and offers its members a programme of events throughout the year and lots of opportunities to get involved and shape the network. Recent events have included lunchtime discussion groups, CV+ Feedback and advice for women seeking career progression and their awesome Celebrating International Women’s Day 2015 event. Keen to share their learnings, the network has published ‘The Good Practice Guide for creating Women’s Networks in Academia’ guide that’s available to download from their website. The guide provides practical tips and recommendations on how to set up and maintain a vibrant, strategically relevant women’s network in academia – check it out!
Follow the network on Twitter @WomenTUoS