This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is about being #BeBoldForChange. A huge part of this is ensuring there is real gender equality in the workplace. The UK has already achieved so much in this area, so we can be bold in our expectations for the future.

There are several reasons why we can be proud of our achievements in UK – more info see here:

The female employment rate is higher than ever before

The government’s latest statistics say that in December 2016, 70% of women aged 16-64 were in work: the highest female employment rate since comparable records began in 1971.

The % of women on FTSE 100 Boards is rapidly increasing

In 2010, the % of women on the boards of FTSE 100 companies was only 12.5%. Thanks to initiatives like the 30% Club, and closer governmental monitoring, the level is now 27%. This is higher than the USA, Australia, Canada and Hong Kong.

The gender pay gap is lower than ever

The gender pay gap is a measure that shows the difference between women’s and men’s average earnings, expressed as a % of men’s earnings. In the UK the Office of National Statistics reported that the gender pay gap for full-time employees in 2016 was 9.4%. This is still not good, and we need to do more to get the gap closed faster, but it is down from 17.4% in 1997.

A new law will require some companies to publish gender pay gap statistics

In April 2017, new regulations are coming into effect, requiring certain employers to publish data on the gender pay gaps in their organisation. Having to publish the data will hopefully incentivise employers to make sure the pay gap keeps declining.

But there is more to do…

Research shows that gender diversity is better for business. For example, a study of 89 large European companies found that those with more women in senior management and on boards of directors had on average a more than 10% higher return on equity than those companies with the least women in leadership. Indeed, fully tapping into female talent in the UK could increase our GDP by 10% by 2030.

Although we are focussing on gender equality today, it is also important that the City looks at wider diversity and social mobility. Lots of companies based in the Square Mile have taken initiatives to recruit from a more diverse background, to get the benefit of a broader perspective and different insights.

If I am elected as Common Councilman on 23 March I will push the City of London Corporation to be bold, to follow leading companies and help others make a step change. We should also work harder to improve the perception people have about the City. The City of London is a vibrant, international place, and although we can be bolder in our efforts to promote equality and diversity, the City also has a great story to tell.

We have should have an ambitious vision, to make the UK the best place to be a woman. Following Brexit this is entirely in our own hands. To start it’s important that we protect the rights we already have as part of current EU law.

#BeBoldForChange is the theme of International Women’s Day 2017. Learn more at http://www.internationalwomensday.com.