Women Leaders debate on quotas

Date: 
Tuesday, October 20, 2015 - 18:00

Women Leaders debate: “This House believes that voluntary targets are not enough to fast forward gender equality. Quotas are required.” 

The Institute for Government invites you to join six distinguished speakers to debate the case for and against legally binding quotas as a way of promoting gender equality in the workplace.  

For the motion:

Silvana Koch-Mehrin was a German Member of the European Parliament from 2004 to 2014. She is the Founder of the Women in Parliaments a Global Forum (WIP), the worldwide network of female Politicians. From 2009 to 2011 she was Vice-President of the European Parliament, and from 2004 to 2009 she was First Vice-President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).

Uschi Schreiber is EY’s Global Markets Leader. Prior to joining EY in 2007 she was a Director-General and Cabinet Secretary of delivery and central agency Government departments in Australia. Uschi has significant experience in driving transformation programs in large organisations. She is a leader in EY’s Diversity & Inclusiveness programs and in progressing women’s issues in an international context.

Dr Andre Spicer is Professor of Organisational Behaviour and the founding director of ETHOS: The Centre for Responsible Enterprise at Cass. He is a frequent guest on the BBC, and regularly writes for CNN, the Guardian and many other news sources. Professor Spicer has worked with a wide range of organisations including UK Houses of Parliament, Barclays. Transport for London, Old Mutual, City UK and New City Agenda. He is author of five books and dozens of research articles. He is currently writing a book about stupidity in organisations.

Against the motion:

Sue Owen became Permanent Secretary for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 1 October 2013. In July 2014 Sue became the Civil Service LGB&T Champion and was appointed overall Civil Service Diversity Champion in August 2015. She has championed diversity and inclusion throughout her career; as an academic working on women's lower lifetime earnings; working on parental leave at No. 10; as disability champion at HM Treasury, researching women's progress to the senior civil service since 2008, as LGB&T Champion in DFID and DWP.            

Jo Swinson is a non-executive director of data intelligence company Clear Returns. Previously Liberal Democrat MP for East Dunbartonshire (2005-15), Jo was a Minister in the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Minister for Women (2012-15) where she introduced shared parental leave, drove increases in the appointment of women to public and private sector boards, and secured government support for new laws on gender pay transparency.

Frances Dickens is Chief Executive and co-founder of Astus Group, which was founded in 2003 by Frances along with Paul Jackson. The company transformed perceptions of media barter in the UK and is now the UK’s biggest media barter company, with an estimated market share in excess of 40%. In December 2014 Frances made it to the finalist round of the NatWest Everywoman Awards 2014, which celebrate the business achievements of the UK’s female entrepreneurs.