#IWD2018: makepositive CEO Mark Richards takes immediate action in climate of change

Meet Annie Kenney.


Annie was widely regarded as the first working-class suffragette to become a key player in the movement in Manchester and beyond in the early 1900s. Annie also happens to be a relative of mine. So here we are, a century on, still seeing a need for a huge transformation in gender equality.

“It’s not like that love.”

An internal meeting with six people, none of them female.

“What are we doing to increase diversity at makepositive?”

Things I heard, noticed or read only yesterday.

The groundswell of change that is upon us thanks to enormous numbers of brave women has hit home today. Although I feel mostly proud of our diversity, we have only begun our journey to true equality. And there are no excuses for being behind the curve – if salesforce.com with tens of thousands of people can enact the required change, the one hundred and fifty or so people that make up our team deserve to know – how are we going to change?

First, what are the facts as of today?

28% of our employees globally are female. In our UK offices this rises to 32%.

According to the WISE campaign (https://www.wisecampaign.org.uk), in the UK, only 17% of occupations in ICT are occupied by women.

So that’s a good start but only a start. Because there are major issues with our gender diversity when it comes to leadership in makepositive.

We have two women attending our board meetings out of seven and one of them is an advisor rather than a Director. According to the Directory of Social Change, in 2016, UK companies showed an overall percentage of women on boards of 22%.  So we are about on par for the UK.

As of today, our Senior Leadership Team comprises seven people, none of them female.  Shameful and will be changed immediately.

In the Management Team, the ratio gets slightly better but is nowhere near good enough – 25% female.

The question is obviously what can we do? We believe we have an unbiased approach to promotions and recruitment. But are we sure? I’ve heard plenty of examples recently where gender-blind selection has produced some surprising (really?) results.

The first step is to meet with the females in mp to understand more about their experience. That is happening in London and Manchester in March and in India in April.

The tide is turning and we are determined to help accelerate what is much needed.

Happy International Women’s Day.


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