When Sir Evelyn Wrench founded the Royal Over-Seas League in 1910, he took a bold step amongst London clubs in admitting female members from the outset. Even today, several of London's oldest clubs only allow male members. This small nod he made to equality has been joined in the century that followed by huge advances in equality in wider society, not only in terms of gender, but also race, religion, sexuality, disability and age, among others. But that doesn't mean equality for all is a reality today; particularly in the workplace.
The UK Government brought in legislation in 2006 to end discrimination, but more than a decade later the progress made in workplace equality has been slow. Just seven women are CEOs of FTSE100 companies, while only 26% of board members are female. Studies in the UK and US have found racial discrimination to be rife in recruitment, with the name of the potential employee being a huge determining factor in whether they secure an interview, regardless of qualifications.
These sorts of barriers can slow or even stall career progression for young professionals, but there are ways to overcome them. In the next instalment of the Evelyn Wrench Lecture Series, to be held on 19 April, our expert panel will discuss the challenges and opportunities professionals face and what inclusion in the workplace should look like.