How the council is working to remove the ‘glass ceiling’

On International Women’s Day, Cllr John Cotton looks at how the council is working towards being an employer where female employees no longer have to ‘smash the glass ceiling’.

Today we celebrate women: their achievements and the hard fought battles for women’s rights, freedoms and gender equality.  It’s also a day to reflect upon the fact that for many women in parts of our world, these rights and freedoms are still denied.

Gender, race, sexuality, faith – none of these should be a barrier anyone in the 21st century.  Yet the stark facts about the extent of inequality in our country today tell us how far we are from being a truly equal society.

As a council and one of Birmingham’s biggest employers, we want to empower and inspire women to have the confidence to pursue their dreams with passion and purpose.

Addressing inequalities is key to Birmingham City Council’s Everyone’s Battle, Everyone’s Business strategy, which aims to make the council more accessible and inclusive to all our employees and those who want to work for us.

We are working with our staff, managers, trade unions and independent equalities and HR experts to ensure our workforce reflects the communities we serve.

It’s why we’re working to ensure that shortlists for interviews are genuinely inclusive and reflect the gender and ethnic diversity of our great city. 

We must lead by example, encouraging businesses and organisations across our great city to build workplaces where women can thrive professionally, with access to opportunities to progress in their careers and where they can stand shoulder to shoulder with their colleagues.

Women also need to feel supported and safe, able to raise issues without worrying about what this means for their prospects in the workplace. 

But this isn’t just about the job you do. It’s also about services, housing, support, education and training: all of the vital things that affect our lives and how we live them.

It's about how we take a long, hard and honest look at our society and our economy, so we can remove the barriers and smash those glass ceilings.

It's about how we challenge institutional sexism and how we root out misogyny; how we act as allies and show real solidarity to support women in pursuing their passions or professions.

We still have a lot of work to do.  But I remain confident that by working together, with our staff, our citizens and partners ,we can build a more equal city and play our full part in delivering a world where gender inequality is finally and irrevocably consigned to history.


Cllr John Cotton is Cabinet Member for Social Justice, Community Safety & Equalities at Birmingham City Council

This post was published on 8 March 2023.

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