It’s International Women’s Day today and there are plenty of inspirational women to talk about. Traditionally, the women we celebrate on #IWD are those who have actively campaigned for women equality throughout the years. Just to be different though, I want to briefly talk about the women making a difference in the emerging VCSE sector.
One of the curious but fascinating things about emerging social enterprises is that 41% of SE board members are women, compared to just 12.5% of FTSE 100 directors. There are also lots of women chief executives of charities such as Oxfam International, Diabetes UK and Brook who are doing fantastic work as leaders of such big and important businesses.
Some people might say that these figures just add together because traditionally the third sector is traditionally based on female roles such as childcare, counselling and health and social care. However, there is a renewed focus in the sector on sustainability and the idea of trading for good rather than just offering services for free. There are women coming up with fascinating ideas using digital innovation and technology, there are those rebuilding our heritage and regenerating tired towns with brilliant community venues and there are those teaching a new generation the skills they need to be sustainable in the future in sectors like agriculture and farming.
Increasingly, it takes women who understand business, who understand how to lead teams of volunteers and who understand how to market their idea and products effectively. As Social Enterprises become an increasing part of the market, it will become even more important for women to be able to access the support they need to become great social entrepreneurs and take the sector by storm. The figures are already on our side, so we should keep growing, developing and supporting each other.
If you’re a woman in Staffordshire with an idea for a social business, why not come along to one of our Social Enterprise workshops, which start tomorrow? You can book your ticket here, or email me Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about any of our events over the coming months.