This week I and many others in the Labour Party have joined readers of Grazia magazine to write to the Business Secretary to ask him to implement pay transparency. This measure would see large companies of over 250 employees publish the pay gap between the hourly wages of men and women on an annual basis.
It's not just that there is a 'moral case' for greater diversity in business. Capitalising on women's potential makes economic sense. Having more women on corporate boards has been shown to increase both the share price and the return on equity. It doesn't surprise me that the 2013 list of the world's most valuable brands showed companies with a greater than average proportion of female board members outperforms those with an all-male board. So why are women undervalued across the business spectrum?
We have a lot be proud of when it comes to gender equality and there are many signs that show how much progress has been made. Over two thirds of working age women are in work - more than ever before; nearly 60% of new graduates are now women, along with over 50% of new postgraduates... The workplace was designed by men, for men. The Government is playing its part too by helping to modernise the workplace. However, we still have much more work to do.
We already have a great network of organisations and individuals working to achieve this through educational, vocational and mentoring schemes, but more support is needed - both financial and on the ground. We need more men to get involved too, as these are problems that affect us all. Things won't happen overnight, but I believe that change is possible
The death this week of city intern, Moritz Erhardt, was a tragic and pointless loss of a young man's life. More disturbing still is that his death (reportedly caused by a heart attack) is not an isolated incident. Within the last few years there have been five reported suicides at one city site alone. It's time we started joining up the dots.