A business-backed campaign to support women making career choices at any stage in their life has been launched by the government this week.

According to the Department for Work and Pensions, although women are getting into work faster than any other country in the G7, there are still several professions where women are unable to climb to higher positions. The #notjustforboys campaign aims to dispel the mindset that some careers are just for men.

Employment Minister Esther McVey said at the launch:

“The modern face of women in work in the UK is largely unrecognisable from the choices available to our grandmothers, and as part of our long-term economic plan I want to support even more women make the most of the record vacancies UK businesses are creating.

“Who would have believed in 2015 we are still seeing ‘female firsts’ – only last year we had the first female to be President of the Royal Society of Chemistry in nearly 200 years of history.

“We’ve only just had the first female CEO of the London Stock Exchange and we’re still waiting for the ‘first’ in many of the UK’s top jobs at organisations like the Bank of England, the BBC and CBI.

“Through the #notjustforboys campaign we want to energise young girls and support more women to make the choices that are right for them, and have the security of a regular wage in an industry that’s driving Britain’s growth.”

The #notjustforboys campaign is to shine a light on this issue and to get more women into work across many of these industries. It is backed by more than 30 leading businesses and individuals, including digital entrepreneur Martha Lane-Fox, Lady Geek founder Belinda Parmar, Diageo, Unilever and Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

Around 80% of the growth in female employment in the last 4 years has been in managerial, professional and technical professions. Women have made impressive gains across a range of sectors – but women are still underrepresented in growth areas such as:

  • engineering professionals (up 10% since 2011) – 7 percent working in this area are women
  • broadcast media (including photographers, audio-visual and broadcasting equipment operators) (up by 25% since 2011) – 20 percent working in this area are women
  • graphic designers (up 40% since 2011) – 30 percent working in this area are women
  • science, engineering and production technicians (up 45% since 2011) – 25 percent working in this area are women

Recent research reveals there are likely to be around 12 million job opportunities open up in the UK over the next decade, and despite women now choosing to work in record numbers, they are still underrepresented in many of the UK’s jobs growth areas.

As part of the government’s long-term economic plan, the minister wants women to be able to make the most of the record number of vacancies in the economy.

Businesses and individuals supporting the #notjustforboys campaign include:

  • Emer Timmons (President of BT Global Services UK, member of the Women’s Business Council and recent winner of Woman of the Year in the Information Age Women in IT Awards)
  • Kate Russell (author and technology reporter, BBC Click)
  • Belinda Parmar OBE (CEO, Lady Geek)
  • Baroness Lane-Fox (Chair, Go ON UK)
  • Dame Fiona Kendrick (CEO and Chair of Nestlé UK and Ireland)
  • Tottenham Hotspur
  • Unilever
  • BT
  • Diageo
  • Opportunity Now
  • National Express
  • Network Rail
  • Nestlé
  • Asda
  • Judith Hackitt CBE FREng (Chair, HSE)
  • Dr Melanie Windridge (physicist and science communicator)
  • Kelly Vere (laboratory technician, University of Nottingham)
  • Women’s Engineering Society
  • Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering
  • MACE
  • Mitie
  • Be-onsite
  • CITB
  • BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
  • Go ON UK
  • Health and Safety Executive
  • Beonsite
  • Liberata UK
  • WISE