Help to Grow: Management Course | Kingston University

Equality, Digital Inclusion and Women in Business

By Zoe Gilks
October 12, 2023

UN Women calculate that gender equality is 300 years away.

Just let that sink in.

That many events lately have pushed back women and girls empowerment – including Covid, natural disasters, conflict and digital advances. That there has been a push back on women’s rights across the globe.

This is an issue that effects all women and girls. Feeling safe, feeling empowered and protection of our rights has to be at the forefront of change makers and decision makers. 300 years just isn’t good enough.

Digital inclusion

Women are 27 times more likely than men to face online harassment or hate speech. Only 1 in 4 report it to authorities. 9 out of 10 limit online activities because of it.  These were all statistics I took from attending this year’s UN Women CSW67.

In a world that is moving at a rapid speed to online and digital – think about the impact on women and girls in that space. There is an urgent need to make that space safe. To ensure digital equality for women. To include women in the leadership and design of online space, to think about the impacts and checks and controls needed.

We can not allow a digital world to replicate the same issues and culture that lead to that harassment and hate behaviour. More women need to be involved in STEM, employed in decision making positions in innovative and IT businesses, be listened to in the innovative product space, be supported in the workplace and in business and beyond.

We need to do this together…raise awareness, promote STEM to women and girls, employ women in decision making roles and continue pushing for better.

Women in Business

The 2019 Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurs highlighted that only 1 in 3 entrepreneurs are female.  Male led SME’s are 5 times more likely to scale up their business to £1m than female.  Access to funding was one of the key barriers and differentiators between men and women entrepreneurs.

We are proud here at Kingston Help to Grow Management to offer a limited number of Women in Business bursaries with each cohort, to give access to the support and advice to grow their business.

The Rose report also states the need for local mentoring and networks – again an area where we can support through the Help to Grow Management course, with mentoring access to our experts and our alumni programme.

We need to do this together. What can you do as an SME leader? Be a change creator.