Dear PPMA colleagues and friends.

We’re delighted to introduce Stacey-Rebekka Karlsson as this week’s guest blogger. For those of your who don’t know Stacey-Rebekka Karlsson is Head of Partnerships at the Guardian and founder of the “Women In” series.  She’s worked in Media and Events for 16 years and with the Public Sector for almost 11 of those. When she’s not busy at work, she plays Saxophone in a band made up of Local Government professionals, and is a keen baker! Stacey is writing this week on a subject dear to her heart and one that Caroline in particular, has spoken passionately about before.

Stacey is leading the Women in” series and here she tells us more about it:

“I started the “Women in” series as a result of my own experiences, and my desire to improve things for others.

It’s crazy to think that only 100 years ago, women weren’t allowed to vote in the UK. Even when they did get the vote in 1918, women had to be over 30 years old to vote. And it was only a couple of years ago that same-sex marriage was legalised in England, Wales and Scotland.

Despite it seeming odd to me that what I would consider to be basic human rights being only so recently legalised in most of the UK, there are plenty of places in the world they aren’t.  Same-sex marriage is still illegal in Northern Ireland for example. We have come a long way, BUT that doesn’t mean  there’s not still lots of work to be done, not just for women – but to ensure equality for everyone.

I’ve worked with the public sector for almost 11 years now. In that time we’ve seen huge change, in most ways apart from, that is, gender equality.  The Guardian’s Public Leaders Network recently reported that according to the Fawcett Society, gender equality in local government will not be achieved until 2065. That is beyond most of our lifetimes, and, quite simply, is not good enough.

By striving for, and achieving gender equality, we’ll also be helping ensure the other pillars of diversity are supported. After all, half of the UK population is female. If we ensure women are treated fairly, there’s a good chance we’ll have a much fairer society.

What’s more, it’s proven that more diverse organisations are more successful. Research by McKinsey looked at the relationship between levels of diversity and company financial performance. The research is based on financial data and leadership demographics compiled from hundreds of organisations and thousands of executives in the  UK, US, Latin America and Canada. They found a positive correlation between more diverse organisations and increased revenue. For example gender-diverse companies were 15% more likely to outperform the national industry median, and ethnically diverse companies were a staggering 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. These are compelling results.

I’ve developed “Women in” as a network for women, by women. The team here at the Guardian have worked tirelessly to create a series of content and events that will challenge, nurture and support women across all sectors and inspire the next generation of female leaders.

And we want you to help us shape the content. Please email in any suggestions, or requests to be involved. And by the way, we also welcome positive support from our male colleagues.  The events are all free for public sector employees. We want to facilitate discussions and debates but we also want to provide a platform for professionals to meet one another, help them build their own networks, so that together we can make the working environment a fairer, more enjoyable, more diverse place for everyone.”

Our next events are

Women in Public Sector Leadership  –  3rd November in Manchester

Women in Public Sector – 21st November, also in Manchester

Guardian Pride – March 2018 , a celebration of LGBT+ Professionals, London

To get further information or be involved, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Stacey-Rebekka Karlsson is Head of Partnerships at the Guardian