May 2009 - Manchester
Taking Questions at the Event
Manchester - A Dynamic City
On a previous visit - to Manchester Asian Care
'We all gain if we can raise the barriers that still stop women from advancing'.
On May 7th Cherie spoke to 200 members of the pro∙manchester network about the importance of gender equality in the workplace at a business event sponsored by Barclays Wealth.
Pro∙manchester is a corporate membership organisation representing the 240,000 employed in the financial and professional service community in and around Greater Manchester.
With her own strong North West roots, Cherie praised Manchester as an 'amazing city' and argued that, rather than women working in isolation to champion their cause, they should be working in partnership with men to achieve success.
Indeed, she felt strongly that it would be foolish economics for global businesses to ignore half of the population and observed that firms with women in senior positions fare particularly well in difficult times because of their complementary skill sets.
While women still earn 18 per cent less than their male counterparts in the professional world, Cherie recognised the importance of reviewing how far we have come since 1976, which was the first time the number of women called to the bar accounted for more than 10 per cent.
Work-life balance was a major feature of her speech, and Cherie said that, in her view, while women can't in fact have it all without some compromise in either their home or professional life, they can still have a substantial piece of the pie.
She also stressed women shouldn't lose momentum but should commit to breaking through the glass ceiling to ease the path for generations of women to come in the professional world.
Commenting on the event, chairman of pro∙manchester, Simon Oldfield said: "The event was a major success and Cherie allowed us a rare insight into her personal career story, with some fascinating anecdotes. It is vital firms take on board the importance of gender equality and maximise on growth potential by recognising the different skills men and women collectively bring to the table."
Cherie is in the process of establishing a Foundation of her own which seeks to promote women's role and leadership in the global economy by enhancing the growth of women-owned small and medium enterprises in the developing world. So she is keen to encourage successful businesswomen from established networks such as pro manchester to share the skills and experience they have gained with their counterparts who are just starting out along the road towards economic empowerment, across the globe.
For more information about the Cherie Blair Foundation click here
For more information about pro-manchester click here
For a report in the Manchester Evening News click here
For coverage in Accountancy Magazine click here