A person wearing glasses, blue dungarees and a yellow stripey t-shirt looking camera left

Mother Pukka! Radio DJ joins event to unlock women’s employment talents with Minister, Mims Davies

Businesses across England are being invited to attend an online event on 1 March 2022 that will teach them the best ways to welcome women into their organisations, with leading speakers sharing their expertise on subjects including women returners, role-sharing, flexible working, funded childcare, and shared parental leave.

Opening with an all-female double-header, the keynote speech will be delivered by Mims Davies MP, Minister for Employment and flexible working campaigner, author and Heart Radio DJ ‘Mother Pukka’, Anna Whitehouse. The online event ‘Women’s Conference: Unlocking Invisible Talent’ aims to open employers’ eyes to the ways that hiring, and retaining, women - including those from diverse backgrounds - can benefit their businesses.  

Sponsored by housing association Sovereign, and organised by Bristol-based social enterprise Women’s Work Lab, the conference follows on from the fledgling organisation’s success in getting more than 60 women in the south-west ready to return to employment in 2021. Many of those involved in the programme are returning to work after having children, following difficult life events, which in some cases has provided additional challenges in getting an education or that first foot on the career ladder.

Rachel Mostyn and Camilla Rigby, CEOs of Womens Work Lab, said: “There is a huge opportunity across this country to unlock talent, enabling organisations to build a fairer workforce, one that will guarantee a better future for this generation and the next. Talent and hard work alone should determine how far people can go in life, whoever you are, wherever you are from... not just the background you were born into.”

Mims Davies, MP, said: “Employers must be supported in finding and unlocking the talent available across the country and it’s fantastic to be supporting an event aimed at doing just this.

“Through our network of DWP Job centres we are short-circuiting the recruitment process to put job ready candidates in front of employers to help fill the 1.2 million vacancies out there.

"With female employment rising again, our Plan for Jobs is all about supporting people, no matter what barriers might be holding them back, so they can continue to move forward and progress in flexible and better paid roles.”

The event unites government and key influencers in the women’s employment space, including Heart Radio DJ Mother Pukka, figurehead for the ‘Flex appeal’ campaign backed by Sir Robert McAlpine, and Joeli Brearley, CEO of Pregnant then Screwed, an advocate for eliminating childcare as a barrier when it comes to women’s employment and progression.

Although women’s employment increased again last month, 2019 ONS figures showed that in the UK 1.8m women were not in paid employment as they were looking after family and home, with 550,000 professional women on extended career breaks for caring reasons. A 2020 survey by speaker Joeli Brearley, who led a coalition of parenting organisations to collect research into the opinions of 20,000 women, found that 72% of mothers reduced their hours during the pandemic due to childcare issues. 

This event will unpack the causes, and solutions, that the public and private sector can deliver to ensure women’s hours, pay and progression are not limited.

For more information on the event and to find out how to make change happen, go to: https://hopin.com/events/womens-conference/registration.