Charter aiming to make Bristol England’s first gender equal city signs up city’s NHS hospital trust

December 7, 2023

An organisation with one of the largest female workforces in Bristol has become the latest signatory to a unique charter that aims to make a difference for women in the workplace.

University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust (UHBW), which employs 15,000 people – more than 75% of them women – has joined major businesses across the city in signing the Bristol Women in Business Charter (BWIBC). 

Launched in 2019 by Bristol City Council’s Women’s Commission, the charter has seven specific goals geared at creating more equitable workplaces for women, supporting them at different stages of life.

More than 40 organisations have already signed up to it, between them representing 48,000 workers – just under a fifth of Bristol’s entire workforce.

Among them are financial services group Hargreaves Lansdown, law firm TLT, the University of Bristol and UWE and Avon & Somerset Police, work through seven specific goals geared at creating more equitable workplaces for women, supporting them at different stages of life.

Key benefits for signatories to BWIBC, which is a not-for-profit CIC, include opening up talent pools and retaining employees who are often hard to reach or who leave their employers due to caring duties or lack of opportunity.

UHBW, which runs hospital and clinics in the city including the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI) and South Bristol Community Hospital, has adopted three of BWIBC’s main goals:

  • Improving a flexible and agile workforce to support retention, ensuring they are an employer of choice in the city,
  • Continuously improving in talent and educationally support career pathways through the organisation, and
  • Continuing the positive work to close the gender pay gap at all levels.

UHBW chief people officer and deputy chief executive officer Emma Wood, pictured above, right, with BWIBC director Sandra Gordon, said: “In signing up to the Bristol Women in Business Charter we are committed to building on the work we already do in UHBW to make sure our trust is a great place to work for everyone.

“Inclusion and belonging are at the heart of our commitment to offering the best employment experience possible to all our colleagues.

“I look forward to collaborating with other charter members to share experiences and learn from each other.”

The charter helps organisations achieve their goals by delivering on-hand support from the Charter team of experts, as well as access to peer-to-peer learning, networking and problem solving with business leaders.

BWIBC co-founder and director Sandra Gordon said UHBW becoming a signatory marked a major milestone for the charter.

“Ensuring we enable large-scale organisations to engage and develop better, more holistic working conditions for women who come from all backgrounds and walks of life is central to our reason for being,” she added.

“Every strata of the trust – including the deputy CEO – involves women, so it’s fantastic to see them making a continued commitment to positive change and being willing to be held accountable.

“We are looking forward to other organisations following suit and making Bristol the UK’s first gender equal city.”

Find out more about the Bristol Women in Business Charter, click here

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