On International Women’s Day (March 8th), Labour leader Keir Starmer, deputy leader Angela Rayner, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves and shadow women and equalities secretary Anneliese Dodds hosted a reception in Parliament for women entrepreneurs who the party says “hold the key to a stronger economy.”

Catherine West MP was joined at the event by Shazia Saleem, founder of POP London boutique based in Wood Green’s Blue House Yard to celebrate the success of women-led businesses in Hornsey & Wood Green.

To coincide with the reception, Labour pointed to statistics that show that women-led SMEs contribute around £85 billion to the UK economy and that diverse companies are more commercially successful:

  • Companies with the most gender-diverse executive teams are 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those with the least diverse teams
  • Companies where more than 3 in 10 of their executives are women are more likely to outperform companies than those with fewer women executives

A study of UK FTSE 100 firms found a positive relationship between gender diversity and firm performance, which became more significant when three or more women were appointed to the board.

The party argues that there is more to be done. The government’s own figures show that only 16% of small business employers and one in three entrepreneurs are women, and a recent report by the Fawcett Society revealed that just eight FTSE100 CEOs are women.

Labour would back the creation of 100,000 new businesses across the UK in its first term of government, as well as boosting family-friendly employment rights, introducing gender pay gap comparisons across companies and acting to tackle workplace harassment.

Anneliese Dodds said: “Women hold the key to supercharging our economy as we recover from a pandemic that hit women disproportionately hard.

“Companies that have more women at the top perform better – and women-led small and medium sized businesses contribute billions to the economy.

“That’s why Labour would put women at the heart of our recovery by backing women in business by creating 100,000 new start-ups, bringing in stronger family-friendly rights and equal pay comparisons across employers, and cracking down on workplace harassment.

“On International Women’s Day we recognise the amazing contribution that women make to our country and commit to tackle the challenges they still face. Labour will give women the security, prosperity and respect they deserve.”

Catherine West MP said: “Women like Shazia hold the key to supercharging our economy to get it back on track as we recover from a pandemic that hit women disproportionately hard.

“On International Women’s Day we recognise the amazing contribution that women make to our country and commit to tackle the challenges they still face.

“That’s why a Labour government would give women the security, prosperity and respect they deserve by backing women in business and industry and introducing stronger family-friendly rights.”

 

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