History of CMI Women
In 2020 we celebrated 50 years of CMI Women. Here is a brief look back over the last half a century.
In 1969, the CMI Women network was established as ‘Women in Management’ by Eleanor Macdonald, one of the first women to break into UK boardrooms as a director of Unilever group companies. She devoted herself to training in effective management and self-development, having a profound influence on attitudes to women’s education and roles in management.
The network was established in order to promote women in management and to put diversity and inclusion at the heart of great leadership. In 2016, we increased our focus on gender diversity and the benefits that it brings to business by relaunching the Women in Management under the new banner of CMI Women. Since relaunching as CMI Women, we have provided a ‘Blueprint for Balance’ to support our objective of producing the world’s strongest pipeline of women in management.
Gender balance is one of the most effective ways to maximise business performance. Besides obvious benefits for women and their careers, it expands the talent pool for a broader variety of skills and perspectives – allowing businesses to make more effective, well-rounded decisions, and ultimately improve results.
2020 was our year of reflection and projection
In 2020, the CMI Women network set out to celebrate their successes since the introduction of the 1970 Pay Act and to establish their aspirations for the next 50 years. Whilst impacted by the global pandemic, the network continued to highlight the economic gains to organisations that gender equality in management brings and showcase that gender equality is not just a woman’s issue but something that should concern us all.
In 2020, we saw just how essential this was for a strong economic recovery and to meet the major challenges ahead. CMI Women has supported managers and leaders to instigate and manage change throughout our 50 years, and 2020 was no exception. CMI made managers’ voices heard by calling for gender awareness to be factored into policy decisions taken during the Covid crisis. Through articles in prominent British media, including The Guardian and The Telegraph, we warned that advances made over the last 50 years regarding women in the workplace risked being set back. Speaking up for women in management in this way is a clear example of the important role that CMI plays in the national debate.