Not-for-profit accounting and consultancy social enterprise Social Practice ENT has today (2 October) launched a trustee development programme to increase the number of women from ethnic minority backgrounds on charity boards.
Beyond Suffrage is a 12-week trustee training programme for young women of colour aged between 18 and 25. It aims to accelerate progress on gender equality for women of colour at board level through a measurable long-term strategy that focuses on breaking down barriers and creating an organic pipeline of talented young future leaders.
The programme will run for a 10-year period in line with the United Nations’ 2030 agenda to reduce inequality, and was developed following research into the underrepresentation of women of colour in the sector including a consultation process with 144 young women.
Applications open on 7 October and participants will be selected through an application and interview process, with successful candidates participating as part of a cohort in their city, before being placed on a charity board by Social Practice ENT’s recruitment partner.
A project report published by Social Practice ENT today highlights that students from ethnic minority backgrounds are less likely to graduate with a first class or upper second degree than their white counterparts, despite being admitted to university with the same grades.
Young women of colour that do navigate the systemic barriers in academic institutions are then hit with a second wave of discrimination on account of gender once they enter into employment. According to figures from the government’s database of graduate employment and earnings, on average men earn more than women at all stages in the decade after graduation, at 8% higher after one year, 15% higher after 5 years and 31% after 10 years.
Commenting on the programme and choice of name, Precious Sithole, CEO of Social Practice ENT said:
“Women of colour continue to be consistently underrepresented at both senior leadership and board level, across all the sectors in the UK. As the young trustee movement grows, we must ensure that it grows with women of colour, or we run the risk of replicating the same system that gave rise to this underrepresentation in the first place. A targeted approach is needed to ensure that the barriers faced by young women of colour are broken down.
“The name Beyond Suffrage was a natural choice –– our foresisters fought for the right to vote, now we’re fighting for a seat at the boardroom table. Us achieving this however, depends heavily on both sector-wide and cross-sector support. We are looking to partner with charities, businesses and women in senior leadership to make the next decade, the decade of action and measurable progress for women of colour at board level.”
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