Press release

#notjustforboys: leading businesses back women as captains of industry

Campaign to support women to make career choices that are right for them launches with retail, construction and Premier League support.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


UK women are getting into work faster than any other country in the G7, yet there are still professions where not enough women are breaking through and reaching the top jobs, Employment Minister Esther McVey said as she launched the business-backed #notjustforboys campaign today.

Not just for boys

Ms McVey will point out that although organisations such as the London Stock Exchange and the Royal Society of Chemistry have recently appointed women to their top jobs after several hundred years of history, the country is still waiting for a number of significant female ‘firsts’ in banking, broadcasting and business.

The #notjustforboys campaign is to shine a light on this issue and to get more women into work across many of these industries. It is backed by more than 30 leading businesses and individuals, including digital entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox, Lady Geek founder Belinda Parmar, Diageo, Unilever and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

Recent research reveals there are likely to be around 12 million job opportunities open up in the UK over the next decade, and despite women now choosing to work in record numbers, they are still underrepresented in many of the UK’s jobs growth areas.

As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, the minister wants women to be able to make the most of the record number of vacancies in the economy.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said:

Up and down the country, women of the UK have been staging a quiet revolution – we’re in work in record numbers, with huge inroads into the top professions.

The modern face of women in work in the UK is largely unrecognisable from the choices available to our grandmothers, and as part of our long-term economic plan I want to support even more women make the most of the record vacancies UK businesses are creating.

Who would have believed in 2015 we are still seeing ‘female firsts’ – only last year we had the first female to be President of the Royal Society of Chemistry in nearly 200 years of history.

We’ve only just had the first female CEO of the London Stock Exchange and we’re still waiting for the ‘first’ in many of the UK’s top jobs at organisations like the Bank of England, the BBC and CBI.

Through the #notjustforboys campaign we want to energise young girls and support more women to make the choices that are right for them, and have the security of a regular wage in an industry that’s driving Britain’s growth.

Businesses and individuals supporting the #notjustforboys campaign include:

  • Emer Timmons (President of BT Global Services UK, member of the Women’s Business Council and recent winner of Woman of the Year in the Information Age Women in IT Awards)
  • Kate Russell (author and technology reporter, BBC Click)
  • Belinda Parmar OBE (CEO, Lady Geek)
  • Baroness Lane-Fox (Chair, Go ON UK)
  • Dame Fiona Kendrick (CEO and Chair of Nestlé UK and Ireland)
  • Tottenham Hotspur
  • Unilever
  • BT
  • Diageo
  • Opportunity Now
  • National Express
  • Network Rail
  • Nestlé
  • Asda
  • Judith Hackitt CBE FREng (Chair, HSE)
  • Dr Melanie Windridge (physicist and science communicator)
  • Kelly Vere (laboratory technician, University of Nottingham)
  • Women’s Engineering Society
  • Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering
  • MACE
  • Mitie
  • Be-onsite
  • CITB
  • BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
  • Go ON UK
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Beonsite
  • Liberata UK
  • WISE

The UK has seen the fastest growth in the number of women in work in the last year out of all G7 economies – there are a record 14.4 million women in work.

There have been nearly 3,500 more women in work every week on average since 2010, boosting the employment rate for women to a record 68.2%.

Around 80% of the growth in female employment in the last 4 years has been in managerial, professional and technical professions. Women have made impressive gains across a range of sectors – but women are still underrepresented in growth areas such as:

  • engineering professionals (up 10% since 2011) – 7% working in this area are women
  • broadcast media (including photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators) (up by 25% since 2011) – 20% working in this area are women
  • graphic designers (up 40% since 2011) – 30% working in this area are women
  • science, engineering and production technicians (up 45% since 2011) – 25% working in this area are women

#notjustforboys is also designed to provide a platform for organisations to amplify their own campaigns to encourage more women to consider careers in science, engineering, sport or taking up a position on a board. From today, campaign partners will be sharing their stories, promoting new opportunities and showcasing the real stories and the backgrounds of women in today’s workplace.

The Department for Work and Pensions provide support for women to get into work through a network of 700 jobcentres around the UK. Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches provide tailored one to one support, and have supported women through a number of schemes, including:

  • around 103,000 women have taken up work experience placements to help them gain the skills and experience they need to move into a job
  • almost 47,000 women have taken up employer-led training opportunities

Over 18,000 businesses have been set up by women through the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, which gives budding entrepreneurs access to business mentors and funding.

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Contact Press Office

Media enquiries for this press release – 020 3267 5117

Press Office

Caxton House
Tothill Street


Follow DWP on:

Published 18 February 2015