MPs Urge Action on ‘Sexism in the City’   

The UK’s Treasury Select Committee has called for an end to the “era of impunity” in the City of London after MPs found that sexual harassment and bullying of women were still prevalent, creating a toxic culture that holds them back. In a report published to coincide with International Women’s Day, the committee noted incremental improvements in financial services, such as a marginal increase in the representation of women in senior positions and a small reduction in the sector’s average gender pay gap, but stressed that progress remained far too slow. The report outlined recommendations that MPs deem essential for tackling sexism and misogyny in financial services. These included legislation to ban the use of non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases and stronger protections for whistleblowers, as well as requiring businesses with wide gender pay gaps to explain that disparity and publish an action plan. The 30% Club – a global campaign led by chairs and CEOs taking action to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels – welcomed the Treasury Select Committee’s report and recommendations. “Sexual harassment and bullying of women have been left unchecked for far too long,” said Pavita Cooper, UK Chair of the 30% Club. “Women should be safe at all times, but the sad truth is many haven’t been and still aren’t.” Although she was pleased that the committee had recommended banning the use of NDAs in sexual harassment claims, she said it could have gone further. “During the inquiry, we wrote to the committee urging MPs to also consider mandatory reporting of NDA data for companies that insist on using them,” she added. “We would like the number of agreements companies enter into on an annual basis to be disclosed, and for this data to be broken down by managerial level, gender, and race/ethnicity. Transparency of this kind would allow companies to be benchmarked.”  

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