New inititatives set to boost the numbers of women in major project leadership

A 12 month programme of research on women in major project leadership, to be undertaken in partnership with KPMG, was announced by visiting research fellow Sue Prtichard at the Ashridge Business School in July.

Sue Pritchard, Ashridge

The programme will examine how to encourage more women into the sector and consider the impact and benefits women could have on the UK’s most important projects. Using examples of best practice from leading companies which are also contributing to the research, Pritchard plans to put together a series of examples of successful initiatives that can be shared with businesses, along with a series of recommendations for government.

“We know that major and complex projects face particular delivery challenges and that improved leadership is critical to delivery. We also know that more diverse boards and more diverse teams will lead to better delivery and better outcomes,” Pritchard said.

The Major Projects Association also announced that its board has unanimously agreed to provide more support to members on improving the gender balance of major projects. It’s aim over the next 12 months is to create a series of practical steps for the major projects sector that will ensure more women work and progress in the industry.

The MPA will also encourage members to contribute to the research to be undertaken at Ashridge. 

The new initiatives were launched as Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to close the gender pay gap, confirming that firms with over 250 employees will be forced to publish the average salaries of male and female employees in a bid to close the pay gap between sexes. Figures from the ONS show that the pay gap between average male and female earnings is currently 9.4%, down from 17.4% in 1997. These measures were originally outlined in the Equality Act of 2010 but to date have not been enacted.

Companies interested in contributing to the research can contact Sue at

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