Afraid Restricted Leashed Biased

Un_Biased is a research project from the Central District Alliance (CDA) – a Business Improvement District (BID) representing over 400 enterprises in the centre of London, across Holborn, Bloomsbury, St Giles, Farringdon and Clerkenwell.

Un_Biased was designed to identify and better understand the many barriers that can prevent women from realising their full economic potential – and the opportunities for change – by analysing the work-life journeys of people in the CDA’s geographical footprint.

The report sets out a series of recommendations that directly respond to the most pressing challenges and barriers women face in society today.

Key recommendations
for Central London businesses

Pathways to Employment
Public Space
Progression at work

1. Make sure women know about and can easily access good quality jobs and training opportunities locally

• including careers advice and secure work

• recognising the broader intersectional biases that can affect women’s access to opportunities

2. Build support networks for women living and working in the area

• through role models, mentoring, confidence building and networks of social support

1. Design and manage spaces that are safe and inclusive

• meaning both public spaces, day and night, (beyond CCTV and policing) and inclusive working environments

• providing services and amenities needed for women’s daily lives

1. Encourage local businesses to adopt the most inclusive policies and practices

• including flexible working, transparent standards for pay and promotion and health and wellbeing policies

• employing practices to reduce bias in recruitment

2. Confront and address the barrier caregiving can present for those wanting to join, re-join or progress in the workforce

• including parental leave policies and supporting access to local and affordable childcare

• recognising the burden of invisible caregiving labour

3. Enable culture change within businesses

• focusing on creating the space for conversation

• raising awareness of the barriers and biases faced by women in the workplace

The recommendations have been developed to focus on what the CDA as a business member organisation can do, as well the role that the businesses themselves can play.

These recommendations alone won’t solve the problem. Many of the longstanding systemic barriers faced by women need solutions led by government at a national and international level.

The findings have created an opportunity to stimulate conversation and action amongst the business community in central London. By encouraging businesses to be part of the solution, it provides a blueprint for others to follow, a solid foundation to drive real change.

An economy that everyone can access means more talent, more creativity and greater diversity of thought and experience – all of which leads to happier and more productive teams and better outcomes.

Our ambition is that the recommendations in this report will help drive good, sustainable economic growth, whilst unleashing the full power of the whole workforce. The recommendations will have far-reaching effects motivating us all to engage, share and discuss.

This report is just the beginning.

Debbie Akehurst
CEO, Central District Alliance

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