Social Enterprise & Gender Equality


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It is widely claimed that social enterprise contribute towards gender equality through both their outward facing mission– i.e. a focus on gender equality – and through their internal working practices – i.e. a higher propensity for women to be involved as leaders, employees and volunteers.

The focus of this webinar is women’s involvement in social ventures, and particularly their representation at the highest levels.

Simon Teasdale who has been involved in the field of social enterprise for 15 years, beginning at the Big Issue in the North in the early 1990s, will present this Webinar. Since then he has been employed as a researcher at the Institute for Volunteering Research and Crisis, while lecturing part time on the University of East London’s BA Social Enterprise. He moved to Birmingham in 2009 to take up a position as research fellow within TSRC.

Simon will also be inviting one other speaker to join him in this webinar.

Existing research carried out by TSRC shows that women are comparatively overrepresented in social ventures as compared to private companies, both as employees, higher managers and professionals, and board members. On average women earn more when working in social ventures rather than private companies, and the gender pay differential is smaller in the third sector than both the public and private sectors.

However the picture is far from perfect. Even within social ventures men are more represented at higher management than are women. Moreover it would appear that this is particularly the case among larger and more formal organisations.

This pattern is replicated when looking at governance structures. Analysis of social enterprise boards has shown that despite women making up the majority of employees, they constituted a minority of board members. Gendered patterns of board structure show that women are overrepresented on the boards of smaller companies and in traditionally feminised industries such as Health and Social Care, and Education, and underrepresented among larger companies and among ‘masculine’ industries such as environmental and recycling services, and business support.

It might appear then that the glass ceiling is still in existence among social ventures, with women making up a minority of higher managerial staff and board members, despite constituting a majority of all employees.

This webinar seeks to understand the reasons for this glass ceiling, and consider how it might be shattered in order that social ventures can practice what they preach

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  • SEUK members and respondents tended to be third sector Social enterprises. Only 8% were CLS or sole traders.
  • To some extent this is explained by horizontal segregation....
  • There is some difference when comparing different sizes of organisation. Women would seem to be more likely to be managers and professionals within smaller organisations
  • Social Enterprise & Gender Equality

    1. 1. Women’s participation in social ventures Simon Teasdale, Third Sector Research Centre, 9 May 2012
    2. 2. Overview of terminology• Social enterprise• Social entrepreneurship• Social Ventures• Third Sector
    3. 3. Women as social entrepreneurs• Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Surveys: four women social entrepreneurs for every five men• Annual Small Business Service (ASBS) Surveys: one female led social enterprise for every 5.5 male led social enterprise
    4. 4. Explaining the discrepancyPrivate sector Third Sector 220,000 Private sector 1,800,000 Social social enterprises led by entrepreneurs initiating or social entrepreneurs leading third sector organisations Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Small Business Survey For Profit Non Profit
    5. 5. Women on SE boards• 41% of board members (of organisations responding to the 2011 SEUK survey ‘State of the Sector’) were women – This compares with 15% of FTSE 100 directors and 43% of charity trustees in 2011 – Female board members were most prevalent (45% or more) in Health and Social Care; Youth, community, childcare, counselling; and Education – Female board members were least prevalent in Financial Services; Environmental and recycling services – Male dominated boards made up 46% of the sample. Female dominated boards made up 19% of the sample. The rest were ‘balanced’ (40-60% women) – Social enterprises governed by women tended to be smaller, less profitable, and more reliant on public sector grant income
    6. 6. How do women ‘choose’ to help out?Proportions of men and women providing informal help of different kinds Men Women AllAny kind of informal help in the last 12 months [*] 62 65 64Baby sitting or caring for children [**] 12 26 19Doing shopping, collecting pension or paying bills [**] 13 19 16Decorating, or doing any kind of home or car repairs [**] 17 4 10Total (unweighted base) 4,063 5,269 9,332*= significant at 5% level** = significant at 1% levelSource 2007 Citizenship Survey
    7. 7. Gendered employment in the third sector?• 67% of the third sector workforce was female (compared to 64% in the public sector and 40% in the private sector)• (Unsurprisingly) most of those employed in the third sector worked in ‘caring’ roles – 59% within ‘health and social care’ – 13% within education• Women more likely to work in ‘caring’ roles – 63% within ‘health and social care’ (compared to 49% of men) – 13% within education (compared to 11% of men)
    8. 8. The third sector as female led?• Women make up 50% of higher managers and professional within the third sector• Women make up 65% of all managerial and professional positions within the third sector
    9. 9. Women and leadership within the third sectorProportions of all employees (in the third sector) who have higher and lowermanagement/professional positions Men Women AllHigher managerial 21 10 14and professionalLower managerial 41 47 45and professional(All other positions 38 43 41)Total (unweighted 651 1423 2074base)Chi-sq(2) = 50.0, p< 0.001.Source 2009 LFS
    10. 10. The gender pay gap Mean Gross hourly payHourly pay Men Women Differential (‘gender pay gap’)Private sector £13.51 £10.17 33%Public sector £15.25 £12.46 22%Third sector £12.97 £11.13 16%Source 2009 LFS
    11. 11. Gender pay gap for managers Mean Gross hourly payHourly pay Men Women Differential (‘gender pay gap’)Higher managers and professionalsPrivate sector £22.95 £20.91 10%Public sector £21.40 £19.21 11%Third sector £18.64 £18.11 3%Lower managers and professionalsPrivate sector £16.22 £12.80 27%Public sector £16.03 £14.69 9%Third sector £13.82 £11.98 15%Source 2009 LFS
    12. 12. Key points• Women setting up or running social ventures are more likely to adopt a third sector (not for personal profit) legal structure. – Female led social enterprises (and volunteers) are clustered in ‘caring’ industries – They are less profitable and more reliant on grant income• Women make up a majority of the workforce and take up a majority of managerial and professional positions within the third sector – However women take only half of the highest level positions – Women higher managers tend to be concentrated in smaller organisations• The gender pay gap is smaller in the third sector than other sectors, and almost disappears for higher managers
    13. 13. Key questions• Why are women attracted to / compelled towards the third sector?• Has the glass ceiling been broken in the third sector? – Why do men take a majority of board positions and half of all senior management positions but only constitute a third of the third sector workforce?• What will be the impact of increased marketisation / professionalization of the third sector on women’s participation?