Opportunities for Women Graduates
- Why do we need these pages?
- The good news
- Success stories
- Finding positive employers
- Help from the Careers and Employability Service
It is now almost 40 years since the Sex Discrimination Act became law, yet there are still many areas in which women graduates have yet to achieve full equality. For example:
- On average, male graduates earn 10% more than females six months after graduation (HESA)
- This pay gap continues to the highest levels: female directors earn an average basic salary of £127,257, compared to £141,946 for the average male director (Chartered Management Institute )
- One in five FTSE 100 companies have no women on the board of directors www.ft.com/cms/s/0/7c1ddf48-c20c-11e1-8e7c-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2MIk8OEmr
- Only 27% of police officers (and 13.7% of chief constables) are women (Counting Women and www.parliament.uk/briefing-papers/sn00634.pdf)
- While a third of practising barristers and almost half of practising solicitors are women, less than a quarter of the judiciary are female (Ministry of Justice). Armenia, (just under 23%) and Azerbaijan (9%) are the only European countries with fewer women judges (Council of Europe).
- In most chartered accountancy firms, fewer than 15% of the partners are female. Only three of the Top 50 firms have more than 25% female partners. and no firms have an equal proportion (Accountancy Age, 2012).
- In Government, men make up 77% of MPs, two-thirds of MEPs, 83% of Permanent Secretaries (the most senior civil servants) and 77% of local government chief executives (Counting Women)
- At local level, 32% of councillors, 12% of council leaders and 13% of elected mayors are female (Counting Women)
- In universities, only 17 out of the UK’s 115 universities have a female Vice-Chancellor (Kent is, of course, one of these www.kent.ac.uk/about/vicechancellor) and only 20% of professors are female (Universities UK and HESA, 2012)
- Even in careers where women make up the majority of the workforce, they tend to be under-represented at senior levels. For example, 73% of teachers are female but only a third of school heads (Department for Education)
- Less than half of UK employers provide childcare support to help parents combine work with family commitments (Hay Group, 2012)
- A report for Opportunity Now, the business-led campaign for women's advancement, identified family responsibilities, perceptions of women as less committed and stereotyping about female roles and abilities as the biggest factors holding women back http://wimuk.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Barriers_to_Work1.pdf
- LinkedIn Article Four Ways Women Stunt Their Careers Unintentionally
|A study by Leeds University Business School of 17,000 companies in 2008 found that having at least one female director on the board cut a company's chances of going bust by 20% and that having two or three female directors lowered the chances of bankruptcy even further!|
- Female graduates have lower unemployment rates than male graduates (HECSU)
- The salary differential between graduates and non-graduates is greater for women than for men, suggesting that the possession of a degree is probably even more financially worthwhile for women.
- The percentage of women in key roles is slowly increasing: five years ago fewer than 10% of FTSE 100 companies had a woman on the board and 90% of judges were male.
- Women heading corporate departments earn more than their male counterparts
(Statistics and examples from Prospects, the Equality & Human Rights Commission, Target Jobs, the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and the Chartered Management Institute)
However, although inequality for women remains a reality, increasing numbers of women are overcoming these barriers, smashing through the “glass ceiling” and achieving their ambitions in all kinds of organisations.
Women are often chosen as leaders in times of crisisWomen are often appointed leaders of successful companies in their critical moments. For example: the appointments of the prime minister of Sweden when the country suffered as a result of the global recession and the CEO of the Sunoco oil company, appointed when its share price dropped by half. But why does this phenomenon (called "The glass cliff"), occur?
A study conducted by Caliper2 and Aurora in 2005 found a number of characteristics that distinguish women leaders from men:
Despite these findings Susanna Bruckmüller and Nyla Branscombe (2010) noted that women often only became leaders in times of trouble because men lack the qualities to do so.
Success stories – women graduates from the University of Kent
Kent graduates have made a name for themselves in all kinds of career areas. Here are just a few of them:
In the media, Charlotte Green (English, 1978) was voted “one of the most beloved and trusted voices on radio” while newsreader and correspondent Shiulie Ghosh (Law, 1989) is a senior news anchor for Al-Jazeera International.
Sarah Waters (English & American Literature, 1987) is the best-selling and award-winning author of The Little Stranger, Night Watch and Tipping the Velvet. An even bigger seller is E.L. James (History) whose “Fifty Shades” trilogy has sold over 65 million copies worldwide. Poet and novelist Valerie Bloom was awarded an MBE in 2008.
Public Relations: Mirella (English, 1989) heads up the US operation of a major London PR consultancy; Belinda (English & History, 1971) is MD of the corporate practice group of a Top 10 PR agency and Rhonda (History & Politics, 1971) is now MD of a specialist Healthcare consultancy after over 10 years’ experience running her own consultancy.
Law - Ceri (English & French Law, 1979) is Head of the Intellectual Property Dept and member of the Management Board at a leading firm in Cardiff and teaches IP at Cardiff Law School; Elaine (Law, 1975) is a partner in the commercial property department at Taylor Wessing; Donna (English and Sociology, 1978) is a partner and specialist family solicitor at one of the leading, predominantly publicly funded, law practices in the country; Caroline (English & German Law, 1989) is a partner in the Property Litigation and Disputes Resolution group at CMS Cameron McKenna and Jill (French, 1992) is an employment solicitor in the European Legal & Business Affairs department of Warner Brothers. At the Bar, Louise (Law, 1986) specialises in employment law and is a part time Employment Tribunal chairman while Linda Sullivan (Women's Studies) is one of the 9% of QCs who are women.
Science & Technology: Barbara (Biochemistry, 1979) is the former Head of Applied Research at the Body Shop; Hanna (PhD, Biosciences, 1989) is a Partner at a leading firm of Patent Attorneys; Fiona (Ph.D, Biology, 1978) successfully co-founded two biotechnology companies and is currently CEO of Novacta Biosystems.
Acting on an anonymous phone call, the police raid a house to arrest a suspected murderer.
They don't know what he looks like, but they know his name is John. Inside they find a carpenter, a lorry driver, a car mechanic, and a fireman playing cards.
Without even asking his name they immediately arrest the fireman. How do they know they have got their man?
See bottom of page for solution
Politics & the Public Sector - Jane Hutt (Social & Public Administration 1970) is Welsh Assembly Cabinet Minister for Finance and Leader of the House and the Assembly Member for the Vale of Glamorgan; Sally (English, 1974) is Chief Executive of a Regional Arts Board; Jacquie (Politics, 1994) and Louise (Classical Civilisation, 1999) both joined the Civil Service through the highly competitive Fast-Stream recruitment scheme. Fu Ying (MA International Relations 1986) is the vice minister of foreign affairs for the People’s Republic of China and the first female spokesperson for the National People's Congress.
Banking & Finance: Helen (Sociology, 1988) is global head for graduate and embark resourcing and development at Barclays Wealth: Jane (European Management Science, 1995) is a Managing Director at Citibank; Stephanie (English & American Literature, 1984) is Technical Partner at a large firm of chartered accountants
Business: Carolyn McCall (History and Politics) is Chief Executive of EasyJet and was voted on of the 100 most influential women in Britain by the BBC’s “Women’s Hour” in 2012.
In other areas, Rebecca (European Studies 1997) was recruited onto British Airways' pilot training scheme; Penny (Social Anthropology and Politics & Government, 1978) headed the Works of Art department at a leading London auction house.
There are many other women graduates from the University who have made a success of their life and career – some in the public eye, some within less high-profile roles and organisations and some simply on their own terms, like the teacher who summed up herself as “never going to be rich or important, but perfectly content”.
A long time ago a government official asked my mother, "What is your occupation?"
My mother who was seeking renewal of her license seemed to be puzzled so the officer clarified, “Are you employed, do you have your own business or what?”
My mother replied, "Oh, I understand, I have a full time occupation as a mother."
Official: "I’m afraid we don't have 'mother' listed as an option for occupation- I will write it down as 'housewife'"
Years later when I went to get my license, the official was a somewhat pompous woman. "Your occupation?" she asked in an authoritative tone.
I had an inspiration and replied: "I’m a researcher in the field of child development, nutrition and inter-personal relationships."
I calmly repeated my statement and she wrote it down verbatim. Then, unable to conceal her curiosity, she politely asked, "What exactly do you do in your profession, madam?"
I was feeling good about having described my occupation so calmly and confidently so I replied, "My research projects have been going on for a number of years (mothers never retire!). My research is conducted in the laboratory as well as in the field. I have received two awards in this field (my son and daughter) and my topic is considered to be one of the most difficult parts of sociology (all mums will agree). I work more than 14 hours every day sometimes even 24 hours are not enough and the challenges are tougher than many other professions. My compensation is in terms of mental satisfaction rather than money."
I could see that the officer was impressed. After completing the licencing formalities, she came to the door to see me off and this new viewpoint about my occupation made me feel much better on my way back home.
I was welcomed by my 5 year old research assistant at the door and my new project (my 10 month old baby) was energetically practicing her 'music'. I had earned a small victory over the governmental red tape today. I was no longer 'merely a mother', instead I was now a highly placed functionary in a service vital For mankind: motherhood!
These may be employers who have strong equal opportunities policies; employers where a significant number of women have achieved senior positions or employers who have taken initiatives to offer flexible or family-friendly working.
- “Britain's Top Employers” www.britainstopemployers.co.uk/BritainsTopEmployers.aspx rates around 80 companies on factors including diversity initiatives, flexible working and career development;
- TARGET Jobs Events http://targetjobsevents.co.uk runs a range of information and networking events to promote diversity, including “IT’s not just for the Boys!” and “Women in Investment Management”
- “Best Companies Guide” www.bestcompaniesguide.co.uk
- 'Where women work' www.wherewomenwork.com “progressive companies trying to hire more female talent”
- Opportunity Now is a membership organisation for employers who are committed to creating an inclusive workplace for women www.opportunitynow.org.uk
- Mother@Work www.motheratwork.co.uk monthly webzine dedicated to working mothers, which includes job vacancies and an “Employer of Choice” listing of employers who have demonstrated their commitment to providing a good work-life balance
Look for employers who make positive statements about equality of opportunity in their recruitment advertising.
Use networks and professional interest groups to find out more about employers and to make contacts – see the “Links” section below for some women's networking groups.
Funding sources for postgraduate study for women students
- Yorkshire Ladies Council of Education Fund http://ylce.org general fund open to female students not just to those from Yorkshire.
The Careers and Employability Service is committed to equality of opportunity in keeping with the University of Kent at Canterbury Student Charter and the NUS/AGR/AGCAS Code of Practice . Click here to see the University of Kent Careers and Employability Service Equality and Diversity Statement
Although students booking careers interviews will normally be allocated to the careers adviser who specialises in their subject, please tell the receptionist if you would prefer to speak to a female adviser – see our “Staff” pages for details www.kent.ac.uk/ces/contact/staff.html
General pages on gender and diversity
- The Prospects website has an overview of gender issues at www.prospects.ac.uk/equal_opportunities_women.htm
- TARGET Jobs Equality & Diversity pages http://targetjobs.co.uk/general-advice/equal-opportunities.aspx
Public sector bodies
- The Equality & Human Rights Commission www.equalityhumanrights.com independent, non-departmental public body working to eliminate discrimination and promote equality and human rights for all.
- The Government Equalities Office https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/government-equalities-office responsible for the Government's overall strategy and priorities on equality issues
- TUC pages on equality and womens' issues www.tuc.org.uk/equality/index.cfm
Women's networking organisations – general and business
- Women in Management www.managers.org.uk/wim organisation within the Chartered Management Institute, working through a network of local groups
- British Federation of Women Graduates www.bfwg.org.uk provides graduate women in Great Britain with information, support and friendship; promotes women's opportunities in education and public life and works for conditions in which women can combine careers and domestic responsibilities
- Everywoman www.everywoman.com independent network for women in business
- Business & Professional Women www.bpwuk.co.uk networking, self-development and lobbying organisation with a “Young BPW” for women under 35.
- The 30% Club www.30percentclub.org.uk a group of industry women and supporting Chairmen and organisations committed to achieving 30% female representation on FTSE boards by 2015
- The Athena Network http://theathenanetwork.co.uk
- East Kent Women in Business www.ekentwib.org.uk
- Elevation Networks www.elevationnetworks.org Activities include networking events, mentoring, internships, skills development and volunteer opportunities for students and graduates in particular, but not exclusively, for people from minority ethnic backgrounds, women, and those affected by disability, poverty or social and economic circumstance.
Women are like tea bags. We don't know our true strength until we are in hot water!
Eleanor RooseveltWhatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.
Charlotte WhittonSure God created man before woman. But then you always make a rough draft before the final masterpiece.
UnknownA pessimist is a man who thinks all women are bad. An optimist is a man who hopes they are.
Chauncey Mitchell DepewA diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman's birthday but never remembers her age.
Robert FrostAn archaeologist is the best husband a woman can have. The older she gets the more interested he is in her.
The male is a domestic animal which, if treated with firmness and kindness, can be trained to do most things.If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.
Margaret ThatcherRemember no one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
Women's networking organisations – specialised areas
- Women's Engineering Society www.wes.org.uk
- Women into Science & Engineering www.wisecampaign.org.uk promotes science and engineering as a valuable and interesting career opportunity for women
- Women in Technology www.womenintechnology.co.uk on-line job board and networking group for women working in the IT profession
- Women in Physics www.iop.org/activity/groups/subject/wip/index.html
- SET Women www.setwomen.co.uk a proposed new community, resource and voice for women in science, engineering and technology at all stages in their career across academia, industry and enterprise.
- Women in Publishing www.wipub.org.uk
- Women in Film and Television www.wftv.org.uk
- Women in Journalism www.womeninjournalism.co.uk a networking, campaigning, training and social organisation for women journalists who work across all the written media, from newspapers and magazines to new media
- Women in Banking & Finance www.wibf.org.uk
- Women in Accountancy www.icaew.com/en/members/career-support/career-progression/women-in-accountancy
- We Are the City www.wearethecity.com online network of information related to women and the City
- The Association of Women Solicitors is an official group of the Law Society. Membership is open to any woman solicitor or trainee who is a Law Society member or associate member www.womensolicitors.org.uk
- The Association of Women Barristers represents, supports and furthers the interests of women at the Bar www.womenbarristers.co.uk
- International Society of Women Airline Pilots www.iswap.org
- British Association for Women in Policing www.bawp.org
- Centre for the Advancement of Women in Politics www.qub.ac.uk/cawp many links to women's research units and lobby groups and a few links to the websites of individual women politicians in the UK and Ireland
- Portia www.portiaweb.org.uk promoting effective strategies for gender equality in science
- Fabian Women’s Network www.fabianwomen.co.uk Runs a mentoring scheme for women interested in a career in politics or public life
- Creative Women’s Network www.creativewomensnetwork.co.uk “a showcase for creative women in business”
- National Black Women’s Network http://nbwn.org
- Prowess www.prowess.org.uk network of organisations and individuals who support the growth of women's business ownership
- SEED www.seednetwork.com support network for women entrepreneurs
See also our Self-Employment links www.kent.ac.uk/careers/selfemployment.htm#links
Other general interest sites
Answer to anonymous phone call question above
All the other card players were women.
- The Work & Money section of women's website www.ivillage.co.uk includes advice on job-hunting, work-life balance, office politics, working parents and much more
- Women in London www.womeninlondon.org.uk a directory of London-based women's groups and news of their work and activities
- The Fawcett Society www.fawcettsociety.org.uk campaigns on women's representation in politics and public life; pay, pensions and poverty; valuing caring work; and the treatment of women in the justice system
- The Diversity Group www.thediversitygroup.co.uk promotes equal opportunities to people from every kind of minority background or lifestyle, including race, gender, disability, age, faith and sexual orientation.
- Report on Diversity in Financial Services - opportunities for women
Last fully updated in 2013