Baroness Goudie Blog: June Newsletter

In history, children have often been used as a weapon of war, caught in the crossfire of a conflict they never participated in and subject to unspeakable hardships as a result.

Myanmar, South Sudan and now unbelievably the United States of America. Trump's policy of separating parents from their children was an unspeakable act from a country that should be setting an example on human rights. In these times of conflict and unrest across the globe, it is unacceptable that a nation with so much power and influence should be treating children with such little regard. 

The outcry and grassroots opposition was an encouraging example of the power of the collective and is something we should be proud of. But we must also use this voice to combat other similar situations across the world, where men, women and children are being caught in the middle of a conflict they have no power to appease. 

As much as there have been some great injustices this last month, there have also been some great victories. The UK supreme court appointed the third female justice, Lady Justice Arden who will join the 12 member court on 1st October. She is an incredible woman and has achieved so much in her career. This is a great addition to the UK's highest court.

This month I have included in my newsletter a number of important topics and articles which I encourage you all to read and share. This is a time to be aware of what is going on in the world and to do what we can to ensure it is a positive place for generations to come.

Best wishes,

Baroness Mary Goudie

 

 

How to Use U.N. Sanctions to Stop Rape in War

Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security
 

 

FTSE 350 urged to step up to meet 2020 women on boards targets

GOV.UK

  • FTSE 100 firms on track to reach government-backed target of 33% of board positions going to women by 2020 but FTSE 350 may fall short
  • halfway point of Hampton-Alexander Review shows quarter of FTSE 350 board positions are held by women, but there remain 10 all-male boards
  • online portal opens for FTSE 350 to submit 2018 gender diversity leadership data

More women than ever before are on the boards of the UK’s largest companies but they still have some way to go to meet the target of 33% women by 2020, according to new data revealed today (27 June) to mark the halfway point of a government-backed review.

Figures released today by the Hampton-Alexander Review, which aims to ensure that talented women at the top of business are recognised, promoted and rewarded show 305 positions - 29% of FTSE 100 board positions - are held by women, up from 12.5% in 2011.

Launched in 2016, the government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review set FTSE 350 businesses a target of having 33% of all board and senior leadership positions held by women by the end of 2020. Today’s statistics show that if progress matches the same gains made over the last three years, then FTSE 100 companies are on track to meet the 2020 target.

However, today’s announcement also revealed that while the number of women on boards has increased to 25.5% in FTSE 350 companies, around 40% of all appointments need to go to women in the next 2 years for the FTSE 350 to achieve the 33% target.

While some FTSE 350 companies are on track to meet the government-backed targets for women on boards, others are lagging behind. These have today been urged to emulate success stories of the 80-plus companies already at or beyond the 33% such as hospitality company Whitbread, alcoholic drinks company Diageo, and fashion retailer Next.

Sir Philip Hampton, Chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review said:

It is good to see progress of women on boards continuing with the FTSE100 likely to hit the 33% target in 2020. However, nearly half of all available board appointments in the run up to 2020 now need to go to women if the FTSE 350 are to meet the target.

Far too many companies still have no women - or only one woman - on their board.

Meanwhile, progress in executive and leadership positions is eagerly awaited as the portal for companies to submit their gender data opens today.

We’ll be analysing the data on women in executive leadership roles and hope to see increasing numbers of women joining Executive Committees, or reporting to ExCo members, in the FTSE 350.

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths today called on businesses to prioritise their commitment to tackling gender inequality, saying:

While it is great to see there are more women at the top of Britain’s largest businesses than ever before and I applaud those businesses who have made great strides, it is clear there is still a long way to go and I urge businesses to keep stepping up and championing diversity.

The Hampton-Alexander Review is highlighting the benefits of everyone having an equal opportunity to reach the top, and I commend their effort in driving this important initiative.

Minister for Women Victoria Atkins said:

This government is absolutely committed to increasing diversity in business, and we are leading the way in supporting the work of the Hampton Alexander Review to make sure FTSE companies support and develop their female talent pipeline.

Women are good for business: they bring valuable perspectives and experiences to the decision-making process. FTSE 350 companies need to do their bit and accelerate progress. There is no excuse for having an all-male board.

The online portal for FTSE 350 companies to submit their 2018 gender leadership data also opens today. Progress made on women in executive and leadership roles will be revealed in November.

Melanie Richards Deputy Chair at KPMG, sponsor of the Review said:

These figures are a significant step in the right direction and reflect the efforts and change in emphasis businesses have placed on tackling the gender gap. But it is undeniable that there is more to do to achieve equality in the Boardroom.

In order to achieve these ambitious targets significant change is required, which will not happen overnight. It will take systematic focus on all aspects of recruitment and retention.

The progression of women remains key, coupled with an emphasis on creating environments in which talent can thrive, leadership stereotypes are challenged and individuals are valued for their skills and capabilities.

The Investment Association (IA) is working with investors to achieve better gender representation in the boardroom. In April 2018, the IA and the Hampton-Alexander Review wrote to 35 FTSE 350 companies who were falling short on their gender diversity targets.

Chief Executive of the Investment Association Chris Cummings said:

The dial has shifted: gender diversity is now front and centre of investors’ minds. Firms with a diverse management team and pipeline make better decisions, so this is a business-critical issue.

Companies must demonstrate that they have diverse management teams or have concrete plans to increase diversity, or face possible shareholder revolt.

Last month, the team behind the Hampton-Alexander Review revealed shocking explanations from sexist FTSE bosses for not appointing women to their boards, which showed that some companies are still refusing to move with the times.

Tackling the gender pay gap is part of the Industrial Strategy, government’s long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future, with the ambition to help businesses create better, higher-paying jobs and ensure everyone can be successful in the workplace.

Bridging the gender pay gap could add £150 billion to the UK economy by 2025. Many companies reporting their gender pay gap earlier this year explained that the pay gap was due to insufficient women in senior roles, and/or a predominance of women in lower paid work. Ensuring women are selected in more equal numbers for senior roles, significantly helps to reduce the pay gap.

Under new laws, all companies with 250 or more employees were required to report their gender pay gaps. Over 10,000 public, private and voluntary sector businesses have now reported.

 

Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security Names Carla Koppell as Distinguished Fellow

GIWPS

The Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security is pleased to announce that Carla Koppell will be affiliated with the Institute as a Distinguished GIWPS Fellow.
 
Koppell brings extensive experience in the fields of conflict resolution and international development in the pubic, private, and non-profit sectors.  Most recently she was a vice president with the United States Institute for Peace. Prior to that she served as chief strategy officer in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and was appointed USAID’s inaugural senior coordinator for gender equality and women’s empowerment. Koppell also directed the Institute for Inclusive Security, served as deputy assistant secretary for international affairs with the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development, and worked with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
 
Koppell’s professional history demonstrates an enduring commitment to diversity and inclusion in U.S. foreign policy and international affairs.
 
“Carla is a giant in the field of gender equality and foreign policy,” said Ambassador Melanne Verveer, executive director of the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. “She has provided committed leadership during her tenure at USAID working to mainstream gender considerations into international development, particularly in the implementation of the U.S. national action plan on women, peace and security. We are thrilled to have Carla affiliated with us as a Distinguished GIWPS Fellow.”

 

World failing Yazidi women forced into sex slavery - charity head

Reuters - The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and resilience. Visit news.trust.org

The world is failing Yazidi women forced into sex slavery by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, with 3,000 still unaccounted for, according to the head of a charity dedicated to helping survivors recover from their horrific experiences.

Murad Ismael said many Yazidi women and girls had been brainwashed or killed in captivity, while those who had managed to escape after years of enslavement and rape were left struggling to survive without an income or identity papers.

“Every inch of these women’s body and soul is broken,” Ismael, executive director of Yazda, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“And yet the international system is failing to embrace them and help them return to normal life,” said Ismael, who will speak at the Foundation’s Trust Conference on modern slavery in Brussels on Wednesday.

“These girls, they just want to resume school, go back to normal. But they’re not given any income or support so many of them have to be a father and a mother to their siblings, in addition to being a survivor.”

The Yazidi, a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of ancient Middle Eastern religions, are regarded by Islamic State as devil-worshippers.

Thousands of women and girls of the Yazidi faith were abducted, tortured and sexually abused by IS fighters who invaded their homeland in northwest Iraq, in 2014. [L8N1LM2OO]

The militants were driven out a year ago, but most Yazidis have yet to return to their villages and nearly 3,000 women and children remain in captivity.

“We used to get over 100 rescued women and girls arriving to our office each month, but now we only see five or six,” said Ismael.

“The pace of rescues is slowing down because many of these women have already been killed or brainwashed by their captors.”

“HORRENDOUS SUFFERING”

Manal, a young Yazidi woman who was kidnapped at the age of 17 by IS in 2014 and is now being supported by Yazda after being rescued, said her captors beat her until she was unconscious.

“When I woke up there were scars on my body and blood all over my clothes,” she said in Arabic through a translator.

“I tried to kill myself several times but I didn’t succeed. They didn’t care and raped me again and again.”

Now living with her family in a refugee camp in Qadiya, northern Iraq, she said she wanted to become a psychiatrist to help other survivors.

Baroness Nicholson, founder and chair of the British-based AMAR Foundation which provides education and healthcare in the Middle East, said the world’s religions should urgently recognize the Yazidi faith.

“Unless this is done, they will continue to be considered by some – quite wrongly - as devil worshippers, giving vile people the excuse they need to attack them,” she said by email.

Nicholson urged the international community to ensure the Yazidis could return home safely, and offer them asylum if they could not face doing so.

“The horrendous suffering of those women and girls so monstrously violated by IS should remain in the public consciousness forever,” she said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in December, five months after his forces recaptured the country’s second city Mosul in a protracted battle with the jihadist militants.

The group continues to carry out bombings, assassinations and ambushes in different areas of Iraq, and remains active in neighboring Syria.

 

 

 

Baroness Goudie Blog: May Newsletter

Baroness Goudie Blog: May Newsletter