Bristol businesswomen are calling for greater gender equality – from pay to representation on boards.

The Women in Business Task Group has been set up to champion and advance the careers of women and help improve gender representation in businesses across the city. It is made up of women who represent organisations from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

Jane Ginnever, Chair of the task group and Founder at Shift, says: We believe businesses cannot reach their full potential if they fail to recruit and retain a gender balanced workforce.

“It has been shown that having more women in decision making positions makes a positive contribution to the ‘bottom line’ and to the way businesses are run.

The task group is part of the Bristol Women’s Commission (BWC), which was set up in 2013 by the then Lord Mayor George Ferguson, when Bristol became the first city in the UK to sign the European Charter for equality of women and men in local life.

By launching the UK’s first ‘Women in Business Charter’ in Bristol (March 26, 2019), the task group enables businesses, large and small, improve their awareness of gender equality and understanding for what needs to be done along with how to make necessary changes. They will be calling for all employers across the city to lead by example and sign a pledge to commit to taking action to promote gender equality in the workplace through the seven goals set out in the Charter, including promoting flexible or part-time work at all levels and increasing the number of women at senior levels and on boards.

The Charter also calls for businesses to support more women through their organisation, a non-discriminatory promotion process and closing the gender pay gap.

Rav Bumbra, Founder of Structur3dpeople and member of the task group says: “We are committed to working with organisations that align with but also aspire to achieving gender equality and inclusivity for all women in business.

“We aim to bring about improvements and to showcase pioneering approaches within the business community.”

Liz Dunn, a partner at Burges Salmon, Board Member and Chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Group, adds: “As a Founding Signatory, we are delighted to support the launch of the UK’s first Women in Business Charter.

“At Burges Salmon, our key strategic aim for our people is to have an open, inclusive and diverse culture where the only determinants of success are ability and merit.  Gender diversity is one of our diversity and inclusion priorities and one of the main areas we are focused on is the development and progression of our female lawyers and business professionals.

“We are therefore excited to be involved with this Charter, to increase the visibility and opportunities for women in business and improve gender equality in the workplace.”

Founding signatories to the Charter include UWE, OVO, Bishop Fleming, Burges Salmon, Bristol Airport, Moon Consulting, Pelican Business Services and Bristol City Council.

Debbie Hartshorn, People Director, Bristol Airport says: “The launch of the Women in Business Charter is an important milestone for our city; by signing the Charter businesses are committing to driving change, proactively influencing gender diversity across all industry sectors, and enabling more women to realise their full potential, which can only be a positive force for our future.”

Any business that signs up will select one or more of the goals set out in the Charter and will work towards achieving them over the following year.

Businesses will set their own targets for progress and report what they have achieved annually in order to retain their status.

The Charter is available for all businesses to sign up to for free. For further details, please contact the Women in Business Task Group at

Geraint Evans