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Change culture, not women, for equality

The BITC Workplace Gender Equality Awards 2016 winners have been revealed

In order to achieve true gender equality in the workplace society must be challenged, according to Kathryn Nawrockyi, gender equality director at Business in the Community (BITC).

Speaking at the BITC Workplace Gender Equality Awards 2016, Nawrockyi described how those who strive for equality should seek to fix the culture, not the women. "We should celebrate those who speak up for women’s equal share of power and influence, not just in the workplace but in society at large.”

Nawrockyi discussed her personal experiences with cultural expectations. “Sometimes people ask me if my husband is eastern European, because of my surname,” she explained. “Actually, my grandfather was. And I’m not married. And I’m gay.”

Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management and chair of BITC’s leadership team on gender equality, said that over the course of her career she has seen terrific progress for women at work. “For the first 15 or 20 years not much changed,” she stated. "But in the past five, six or seven years organisations have made a huge commitment. This has all happened since the financial crisis, so maybe that’s the silver lining!”

She hopes workplace equality will continue to improve for women. “In all honesty I don’t want to celebrate our golden jubilee,” she said.

The 2016 award winners are:

  • Engaging Women Award – Southbank Centre
  • Female FTSE 100 Award – Unilever UK
  • Female FTSE Executive Women Award – Kingfisher
  • Game Changer Award – Southbank Centre
  • Inclusive Leader Award: Gender Champion – Geraldine Huse, Procter & Gamble
  • Inclusive Leader Award: People Manager – Philip Goodstone, EY
  • Progression Award – Goldman Sachs International
  • Talent Pipeline Award – Royal Mail Group
  • Transforming Cultures Award – Herbert Smith Freehills
  • Transparency Award – Deloitte

The evening also saw the launch of BITC’s Same But Different campaign; a photographic project that celebrates the diversity of women in the workplace. “We really need to rethink how we imagine women at work,” Nawrockyi said. “Pictures often show a group of white female professionals, or juggling a baby and a laptop. Some pictures have a weird fixation with shoes! These are not representative, and these are not our stories.”