July 1, 2020, by Ingenuity Lab

Engendering Equitable Enterprise Policy: HGI Academic, Dr Lorna Treanor, joins the new “Women’s Enterprise Policy Group”!

HGI’s Dr Lorna Treanor, who specialises in gender and entrepreneurship research, was invited to join the newly-founded Women’s Enterprise Policy Group (WEPG) as an academic member.

Established in May 2020, the Women’s Enterprise Policy Group is a partnership of 15 academic researchers and women’s business support practitioners from across the UK. WEPG commit to sharing research and practice evidence about responsible enterprise policy that enables women and, further, to campaign for this evidence-base to shape UK and devolved government and regional policy. The initial steering committee comprises 15 members – seven academic representatives and eight business support practitioner representatives from across all four UK regions.

Lorna said, “Research evidence shows women are more severely impacted by economic shocks and, often, the policy responses can exacerbate the challenges women face. The austerity policies following the 2008 financial crash, for example, resulted in women disproportionately bearing 61%1 of the burden of tax and benefit changes, and within this, BAME women were worst affected. Rates of women’s entrepreneurial activity also suffered. Recently, we have seen Covid-19 impact women-owned businesses more severely and the UK Government support packages discriminated against self-employed women who had taken maternity leave. So, it’s really important that we try to ensure that enterprise policy is formulated in a gender aware manner and I’m hopeful the new Women’s Enterprise Policy Group can help raise awareness and effect this change.”

Lorna explained that women are more likely to own businesses in sectors worst-affected by Covid-19, such as hospitality and personal services businesses which includes hairdressers and beauty salons, which had to cease trading at the outset. Even when women owned businesses that could remain operational, they were more likely to have had responsibility for home-schooling and domestic chores during lockdown meaning, they had less uninterrupted time to work in and on their businesses.

In addition to this, Lorna has also been elected onto the Board of Trustees of the Institute for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (ISBE), which is a UK-based learned society of over 40 years standing.

You can read more about the ISBE here.

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