Engage boys and men to empower girls and women says world's leading male feminist

-        30% Club cross-company mentoring scheme 2016-17 celebrates success for building the female talent pipeline

“We cannot fully empower girls and women unless we engage boys and men” – that’s the advice from Dr Michael Kimmel, the ‘world’s most prominent male feminist’ to female business leaders at a 30% Club and Women Ahead celebration event last week.

Hundreds of 30% Club cross-company mentoring scheme participants met at The Mermaid Centre in London on Wednesday 21 June, to celebrate the close of the largest mentoring scheme of its kind in the UK, and to find out the winners of the inaugural #inspiredbymentoring awards.

Dame Helena Morrissey DBE, who was recently made a Dame in the Queen’s birthday honours,  thanked participants on the 30% Club scheme, and the Women Ahead team who mange and deliver this scheme for the 30% Club. She said the scheme is one of her proudest 30% Club achievements.

Dame Helena said: “It isn’t about getting a few more women on boards, it’s about fulfilling their potential. It is tremendous to see how the 30% cross-company scheme has grown from being a tiny pilot four years ago, to now being a giant scheme with volumes of women coming through to senior roles.

“Now is a great time to be a girl. The world is going through a lot of upheaval and we need different kinds of thinking. Addressing diversity is a big part of the solution and will lead to more creative, joined up, lateral thinking.”

The scheme participants have enjoyed great success with six out of 10 Pearson Publishing mentees gaining promotion in the past nine months.

Organisations are invited to join the fifth year of the scheme before the entry deadline on 21 July. Contact Rebecca Davies for more information.

Dr Michael Kimmel, who flew in from the States for the ceremony, said: “Privilege is invisible to those who have it. We have to make gender visible to create the change. We strive for the day when a gender equal workforce looks normal. For too long we have been taught to accept that something not normal is OK in the workplace.  That it is in fact, normal, for the workplace to be led by men.”

“When many men hear the words gender equality, what they really hear is if more women win, men lose. Without addressing men’s sense of entitlement, we will never really create the change.”

Dr Kimmel also said that in households where men and women share housework and childcare equally, children are happier, healthier and do better in school. He said that the men and women in that household are also happier and healthier when things are shared.

He added: “Every man is connected to woman somewhere in their life, someone who they dearly want to thrive. Gender equality is not just about empowering women.  It is about enabling men to live the lives that they want to live.”

Julia Hobsbawm OBE celebrated the importance of mentoring during times of our information overload and ‘infobesity’. She said: “It is important to look after your diary like you look after your body. In a world of information overload, mentoring gives you a unique opportunity to interact and connect at a real human level.”


#inspiredbymentoring awards – and the winners were….

Women Ahead and the 30% Club were thrilled to announce winners of the inaugural #inspiredbymentoring awards which were judged by a prestigious panel including Dame Helena Morrissey DBE, 30% Club founder and Head of Personal Investing at Legal & General Investment Management;  Brenda Trenowden, 30% Club Global Chair and Head of Financial Institutions, Europe, at ANZ Bank; Liz Dimmock, Women Ahead founder and CEO; and Maggie Alphonsi MBE, former international rugby player and current TV commentator and Women Ahead’s lead mentoring facilitator.

Liz Dimmock, CEO of Women Ahead said: “Mentoring helps us dream and achieve more than we ever thought possible by giving us the opportunity to share a different perspective, to expand our network and give us space to think. We are proud of all our mentors and mentees, and the promotions and achievements they have won during their time on the programme.”

The winners were:

Dynamic Mentoring Organisation of the Year

Winner: Pearson Publishing Ltd

Runners up: State Street; Mizuho


Inspirational Mentor of the Year

Winner: Michael Cole-Fontayn, BNY Mellon, Chairman, EMEA

Runners up: Amanda Brilliant, Nomura, Managing Director; Justin Bazalgette, Belron, Technical Manager


Committed mentee of the year

Winner: Nameeta Pai, Santander, Head of Board Support

Runners up: Carol Hill, Pearson Publishing, Director, Global Product Lifecycle Implementation in the Global Product Portfolio Strategy & Planning department; Katie Conway, Loyalty Proposition at Marks & Spencer


Dedicated Programme Partner of the Year

Winner: Louisa Woods, Nomura, Internal Executive Director

Runners up: Jo Melanophy, Environment Agency, Team Leader; Lorraine Stone, Santander, Talent and Succession Manager.


Companies and sports organisations that would like to find out more about Women Ahead and Moving Ahead’s range mentoring schemes for female business leaders and for elite athletes can contact Liz Dimmock at Women Ahead on 01491 579726 or liz@women-ahead.org.