Dorset woman offers businesses a ‘sat nav’ through the gender equality storm

Diana Parkes, the author of The Women’s Sat Nav to Success: How to Have Your Best Career is working with businesses across the south to address the lack of women in leadership, key professions and industries, and the gender pay gap.

As the April 4th deadline for businesses to reveal their gender pay gaps arrives, a Bournemouth-based former management consultant is providing them with a ‘sat nav’ through the storm of gender equality.

Diana climbed the corporate ladder, achieving front-line and senior management positions in global organisations such as Mars, Coca-Cola and Carlsberg.

But when she was passed over for a second Board position in favour of a lesser qualified man, she resigned, gave up her six figure salary and decided to use her knowledge and skills to identify what would enable other women to rise to the top of the career ladder.

In addition to guiding companies on gender equality, she is also urging women everywhere to take part in her second, annual online Women’s Sat Nav to Success survey, which she says will identify what makes the most difference to women’s career success in the UK.

All companies with more than 250 employees must report their gender pay gap, bonus pay gap and the proportion of male and female employees in each quartile of their business by April 4.

But less than a third of 9,000 companies have reported so far and about 30 per cent have yet to even register.

Diana said: “The gender pay gap is on everyone’s lips.

“But in truth, along with the proportion of women in leadership, this has been a ‘highly topical’ issue for 10 years now, because despite a decade passing, it still isn’t being successfully addressed.”

Diana continued: “Most companies want to be gender equal and for good reason; trusted research shows that a gender diverse business is more competitive, more profitable and is seen as more reputable.

“But with the deadline looming for businesses to reveal their gender pay gaps, the question businesses really want to ask is: how do we actually navigate through all the white noise surrounding this political minefield – and really achieve change? That’s where the Sat Nav can help.”

In seven years of research by her company The Women’s Sat Nav to Success, Diana has identified 20 critical strategies for realising women’s career potential, which both employers and women can follow.

The no-nonsense approach focuses on solutions that cut through the issues undermining the recognition, retention and progression of female employees.

She said: “There are no punches pulled.

“Companies must be bold, decisive, leadership-led and commit resources – people, time and money – if they want to make change.

“The Women’s Sat Nav can give them a short cut to that, as well as the opportunity for them to contribute to real, societal change – and shout about it.”

Diana is also inviting women to take part in the 2018 Women’s Sat Nav to Success Survey and is urging companies to enable their female employees to take part.

“I would ask women from all industries and sectors to take part in this online survey, which will provide employers, professional institutions and policy makers with a clear picture of specifically what needs to change, why and how.

“I’d like to see companies everywhere, if they are serious, giving all their female employees the 20 minutes they need to complete it.

The first annual *Women’s Sat Nav to Success survey carried out by Diana in 2017 found that only one in 10 women had clarity on where they can progress to.

While only 14 per cent proactively asked for higher rewards or new opportunities.

And only 55 per cent felt their contribution was valued.

“This combination of not being heard and not speaking up is a fundamental driver of the gender pay gap,” she said.

“The great news is that half of the women who took part in the first survey said they changed their approach as a result and were able to take immediate action, ranging from taking an opportunity they hadn’t considered before, to securing a mentor, to even applying for a new job.”

Mandy Garner is Editor of Workingmums.co.uk which connects professional women with employers offering flexible full time, part time of home based jobs and works to share best practice and gender diversity.

Mandy said: “Workingmums.co.uk is delighted to be sponsoring the Women’s Sat Nav to Success survey.

“We know women face a number of barriers getting higher up the career ladder and this is reflected in the gender pay gap figures. What matters now is how we tackle these. To do that employers need to know what actually works. There is a lot of advice out there, but we need strategies that are evidence-based. The kind of detailed data and deep insights that the Women’s Sat Nav to Success survey provides will move us forwards and help to bring about lasting change.”

Gill Donnell MBE is the founder of The Successful Women in Business (SWIB) Network and the new chair of the Dorset Institute of Directors (IOD).

She is also a former Chief Superintendent of Dorset Police.

She said: “I have had the pleasure of witnessing the development of the Women’s Sat Nav and the ways in which it has helped many women, including members of my network. I hope businesses will take full advantage of this highly credible and effective means of improving gender equality.

“I also hope women will come forward and take part in this new ground-breaking new survey. Gender equality is something we all have a part to play in achieving.”

To take part in the Women’s Sat Nav Survey 2018, please visit: https://womenssatnav.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/2018

Media information: Debbie Granville at Deep South Media on 07884 657782 email: Debbie.granville@deepsouthmedia.co.uk

*The report which followed the first Women’s Sat Nav to Success survey was called The Stretch Potential.