At EY, we ask thought-provoking questions about some of the world’s toughest challenges. Through global initiatives like Women. Fast Forward, we also create an inclusive culture that enables women’s potential to truly transform society and build a better working world. And for over 30 years, we’ve been working with the UK entrepreneur community, drawing on our experience, industry capabilities and the EY 7 Drivers of Growth framework to support entrepreneurial, high growth companies.
We invited some of the UK’s most ambitious entrepreneurs to consider better questions on gender equality today. Working women around the world have been disproportionately impacted by the demands of both work and family responsibilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Entrepreneurial Winning Women™: Kim Rihal, Co-founder and Partnerships Director at Equal Education, Amanda Thomson, Founder and CEO of Thomson and Scott, Breanna Yen, Co-Founder and CDO of Curvestone; and our Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK Alumni: Darina Garland, Co-Founder and Chief Experience Officer of Ooni Pizza Ovens (One To Watch winner in our Entrepreneur Of the Year™ UK 2020 Awards), Jennifer Sundberg and Pippa Begg, Co-Founders of Board Intelligence (Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK 2020 finalists) share their views on how gender equality might create and preserve value for future generations, despite current challenges.
How can today’s reality drive gender equality, further, faster?
Kim: We are in a digital age, where we can offer flexibility to women who in truth have two jobs, one as a caregiver, as well as their paid job. The global pandemic has been a prime example of how we can be more flexible to accommodate this.
Amanda: COVID-19 has shown us that science could be our partial gender equality saviour. Many of those involved in the pathway to our freedom from a pandemic have been women such as Hamilton Bennet (Moderna), Katrin Jensen (Pfizer-BioNTech) and Sarah Gilbert who co-developed the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Advances in other fields such as Crispr’s Nobel prize-winning creators Jennifer Douda and Emmanuelle Charpentier show that today’s women have incredible talents to offer. These are incredible role models who need to be in the spotlight in front of today’s young women.
Darina: It’s clear that this last year has changed our ways of working forever. Gender equality has regressed as women have disproportionately been affected by the pandemic both in terms of having to pick up much more family care and by the impact on industries and roles that are generally dominated by female workers. In order to accelerate gender equality leaders are going to have to proactively improve opportunities for women.
Breanna: Regardless of gender, one thing we can all be is an ally. Allies are those that may not identify as a part of a group but that take action, support and advocate for them. In any role, and especially for those in leadership, we can all think of ways to use our platform and seat at the table to represent the under-represented.
Pippa: Saying goodbye to office presenteeism and having to attend late night corporate events to be successful in business: balancing family and work, without the compromise.