Narrowing gender equality gap could add £230m a year to region’s economy

The women who wrote the report

Narrowing the gender gap could add £230m to Liverpool City Region’s economy each year, a new report claims.

The ‘One Day’ report offers a road map to harnessing gender equality as an economic driver across the region.

The landmark report will be launched at Liverpool social enterprise The Women’s Organisation this Friday (March 6), coinciding with International Women’s Day celebrations.

Developed in October 2019, ‘One Day’ brought together more than 20 diverse women from different sectors, geographies and communities who donated one day of their time to start to rethink the Liverpool City Region’s industrial strategy from a woman’s perspective.

Liverpool Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram will officially launch the report, while Dr Paula Burkinshaw, Visiting Senior Research Fellow into gender and leadership at The University of Leeds, will deliver a keynote speech on the day.

With Deloitte projecting that targeted help for female founders could see a £100bn boost to the UK economy over the next 10 years – translating to £230m every year in the Liverpool City Region – the report’s main message is that the region has a unique opportunity to harness gender equality as an economic driver within its local industrial strategy.

‘One Day’ contains 26 recommendations centring on the beliefs that:

  • Harnessing gender and diversity is essential to fulfilling the region’s economic potential.
  • The care and hospitality sectors are recognised as valuable industries which will add significantly to the region’s economic productivity.
  • Creativity is now being recognised as a competency that will support growth across the economy.
  • The Social Economy is an accelerator of local economies found to be more competitive than traditional firms.
  • Community-owned and controlled action on all issues – on local and global scale – will reap better results and ROI.
  • The metrics for measuring the outcomes and successes of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority industrial strategy need to be updated to include wellbeing, the value of health, the value of care and the aim to be self-sufficient.

Women from the public, private and third sectors contributed to the report, with representatives from industries spanning construction to social care, utilities to universities, and from fashion to finance expected to be in attendance this Friday.

Representatives from Liverpool Combined Authority will also be at the event, hosted by The Women’s Organisation.

The One Day group has been working collaboratively with the Combined Authority to take forward its recommendations, with many having already been addressed through new or existing initiatives.

Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “I want our region to be the UK’s fairest and most inclusive local economy.

“To do that, we’ll be relying on our greatest natural resource: our people. But we will not be able to make that a reality unless we make the most of the talents of all our people.

“We’re already working with the One Day group to see how we can implement some of their recommendations and how we can make our existing programmes and initiatives even better. I will stop at nothing to make our region the best in the world.

“I’ve always said that diversity is one of our great strengths and I want to harness it to unlock the full potential of our region.”

Cultural Economist Erika Rushton is convenor of the One Day group, which started when she posted a tweet to mark the birthday of the Women’s Budget Group, which has been publishing national and global evidence of the compelling advantages of gender equality, for everyone, for the past 30 years.

She said: “I was staggered by the huge response we received from diverse women from right across the Liverpool City Region and all that we were able to achieve in just one day.

“We welcome the changes the Metro Mayor has made so far to ensure that diverse women are in every room and at every table where decisions are being made. Our hope is that he will continue this important work with council leaders across the region to deliver a gender-balanced cabinet one day soon.

“We also want to pay particular credit to the forward-looking private sector companies who are now leading the way in gender equality; proactively closing the gender pay gap and requiring that those they invest in and buy from must have at least 30% women on their boards and leadership teams.

“Credit must, of course, also go to the rapidly-increasing numbers of women who are rejecting glass ceilings to step out and set up their own businesses, contributing to the 60% of UK new growth that already comes from women.

“The evidence shows us that this growth has the potential to grow to 80% when gender balance is supported through policy or law.

“We now want to work with the Mayor and regional leaders to put that framework in place so women can reach their full potential.”

Close