Why the library and information sector needs to make a #PledgeForParity

The library and information workforce is 21% male and 79% female but the top earners are 47% male and 53% female.

79 years to gender parity? No, it’s actually closer to 117. Last year the World Economic Forum had to revise its 2014 prediction that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. The current estimate is 2133.  

Worldwide, women contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement and have much to celebrate, but this slow progress to full equality is unacceptable. Men and women are being called upon to speed up the clock by taking a #PledgeforParity this International Women’s Day and beyond.

International Women's Day, originally called International Working Women's Day, has been celebrated on 8th March every year since 1909. Women have made huge strides toward equality in that time and on International Women’s Day we celebrate these achievements. At the same time we acknowledge that there is still much work to be done before women are in business and politics in equal numbers to men, are just as likely to occupy leadership roles, and are being paid the same as their male counterparts for the same work and across all professions.

Diversity is good for organisations and their end customers and users. Managed correctly diversity in teams can lead to improved corporate performance. Non-profit organisation Catalyst have identified the benefits of a gender balanced leadership including better financial performance and improved innovation. In the UK only 19% of private sector board members, 36% of public sector leaders and 23% of our Parliamentarians are women. 

Gender disparities in the UK information sectors

Last November results from a landmark UK information workforce survey, commissioned by CILIP and the Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland) provided a clearer picture of the state of our sector and the work that needs to be done to improve gender equality. 

We must work towards gender-balanced leadership in the sector. While the vast majority (78%) of the workforce is female, men typically earn more than women and are nearly twice as likely to be in senior management roles than their female counterparts. This must change. 

CILIP is committed to diversity and valuing equality within our workforce, our membership and across society, and in our 2016 - 2020 Action Plan[1]  we pledge to ensure that this commitment is embedded in our day-to-day policies and working practices with all our colleagues and partners. We will provide equality of opportunity and will not tolerate discrimination on any grounds.

In the Action Plan we have committed to creating a National Library and Information Skills Strategy. This will include practical, long-term ways in which we can improve gender equality at a leadership level. It is essential that we work with employers, members and the workforce to have the impact that we want. The Workforce Mapping has told us where we are, the Skills Strategy will set our direction, with equality of opportunities at its core.

Supporting International Women’s Day

On International Women’s Day CILIP has made a Pledge for Parity and we are celebrating the inspiring and successful women leaders in the library and information sector. We have invited some of them to share their advice for aspiring leaders and tell us what leadership means to them.
Join the campaign - take a #PledgeforParity and share what leadership means to you. Visit International Women’s Day for research reports and more ways you can support.

Naomi Korn

Management Consultant & CILIP Board Member

\"Take a deep breath. Think yes, before no. Learn when to let go and when to fight\" Naomi Korn, Management Consultant & CILIP Board Member. #PledgeForParity The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals supports International Women's Day

Imrana Ghumra

Professional Advisor, Library & Knowledge Services, Health Education England

\"Seize every opportunity to step up and make a difference; women in senior leadership roles are vital to eliminating inequalities in all walks of life.\" Imrana Ghumra, Professional Advisor, Library & Knowledge Services, Health Education England. #PledgeFo

Dame Lynne Brindley

Academic & former CEO of British Library

\"Be Brave! Build your self-confidence to go to the next step and the next - to the very top. Believe in yourself and put yourself forward.\" Dame Lynne Brindley, Academic & former CEO of British Library. #PledgeForParity The Chartered Institute of Library

Fiona Parkinson

Head of Knowledge Management, BLM

\"Understand what motivates you and stick to your purpose. True leadership includes learning from experience and supporting those around you.\" Fiona Parkinson, Head of Knowledge Management, BLM. #PledgeForParity The Chartered Institute of Library and Infor

Ruth Carlyle

Head of Support and Well-being, Macmillan Cancer Support

\"Think about the difference you want to see. It is your dream; you are the oneto make it happen.\" Ruth Carlyle, Head of Support and Well-being, Macmillan Cancer Support. #PledgeForParity The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals sup

Victoria Treadway

Library and knowledge Service Lead, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

\"You don't need to be the loudest voice in the room to build relationships and influence people in a meaningful way.\" Victoria Treadway, Library and knowledge Service Lead, Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. #PledgeForParity The Cha

Jan Parry

Immediate Past CILIP President

\"Women are natural leaders but some of us don't immediately value our own skills. Have confidence in your abilities and be bold!\" Jan Parry, Immediate Past CILIP President. #PledgeForParity The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals

Alison Wheeler

Chief Executive, Suffolk Libraries IPS Ltd

\"As a library leader, I draw my inspuiration from the people around me, their passion, determination and commitment. Together we work on making what we do better and better.\" Alison Wheeler, Chief Executive, Suffolk Libraries IPS Ltd. #PledgeForParity The

Caroline Brazier

Chief Librarian at the British Library

Everyone who believes that libraries have the power to change lives, should wish that for the women who work in them too. Caroline Brazier is Chief Librarian at the British Library.



[1]  The CILIP Action Plan 2016-2020 is published in draft until the 18th March. Please send any additional comments to nick.poole@cilip.org.uk 

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