Women's Business Council

The Women’s Business Council relaunched in July 2019 with a refreshed focus to encourage action to tackle the gender pay gap across some of the sectors in the biggest need of change. It reports to the Minister for Women and Equalities and is supported in its work by the Government Equalities Office.

The Women’s Business Council (WBC) was set up in 2012, as a government-backed, business-led initiative and launched their ‘Maximising women’s contribution to future economic growth’ report in June 2013. The Council was relaunched in 2019, to focus on the sectors that have the most significant gender pay gaps and to drive forward progress to improve women’s representation within the workplace.


The Council’s objectives are to:

  • help to develop and implement tailored actions to tackle the gender pay gap in target sectors;
  • take a national role in sharing good practice;
  • advise government on the issues facing priority sectors, future changes to the Gender Pay Gap regulations, and barriers to women’s economic participation;
  • work in partnership across the business community on specific issues; and
  • encourage local initiatives to drive action to tackle the gender pay gap at a local or regional level.

Council Members

The Council is chaired by Fiona Dawson, Global President Mars Food, Multisales and Global Customers. The Vice Chair role is held by Lynne Atkin, HR Director, Barclays UK and Group Head of Learning Barclays Bank UK PLC. Its members are all influential business leaders working across a range of sectors. They bring with them their experience in business and a commitment to equal opportunities for women.

Key Sectors

The Council’s focus currently includes the following sectors:

  • Construction
  • Finance and Insurance
  • Retail
  • Tech

The Council also has a focus on Small and Medium Enterprises, as these employ a significant number of people across a range of sectors.

The Council will work with regional organisations, local partners and business organisations to support initiatives to address the gender pay gap at a local and regional level.

Contact details