Yesterday it was my pleasure to speak about gender equality and the benefits of a fairer society at the first Women’s Equality Party Conference, in Manchester.
In the space of just two generations we have made enormous strides towards creating a more equal and fairer society.
Whether in health, welfare, economic welfare or education – we have opportunities my mother’s generation could not even dream of when they were young and I am filled with optimism as to what more we can achieve.
We should not, however, be complacent.
Our shared goal – must be to build a society in which individuals can fulfil their potential and play a full role in our society, regardless of their gender, race, social background, sexual orientation or age.
As a society the UK needs to fully harness the talents of every individual.
Gender equality is about fairness for women and men – not the promotion of women at the expense of men. We all need a stake in society.
I believe that our society and our economy will be stronger, healthier and happier when all people enjoy full equality and respect.
In business it is self-evident that more diverse leadership teams produce superior results. Greater diversity brings different perspectives to the table and delivers better decision making.
So as well as a moral imperative to improve diversity and equality, there is also a strong economic imperative.
Equal representation in politics, business, and our working lives, fighting for equal pay and an equal opportunity to thrive, creating an education system that creates opportunities for everyone – are all objectives that I care about passionately.
Strongly building on the progress we have already made with gender equality and diversity really is integral to create a fairer, more prosperous society.