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Equality: Women are losing out on company share schemes

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Women are losing out on company share schemes too. We all know about the pay gap women are racing to close but the overall wealth gap is still largely untackled.  An important source of income is out of reach for many female executives new findings reveal. Research by law firm Boodle Hatfield found that 69% tax-advantaged share options were offered to men, compared to 31% offered to women. This means that twice as many men benefit from their company’s share schemes compared to women.

When it came to actually cashing in those share options, 70% of those who did so were men, while 30% were women.

Why are women losing out?

Charlie Hewlett, senior associate at Boodle Hatfield, said that the findings were reflective of women’s underrepresentation in certain roles.

He said: “Share option schemes can be a powerful retention tool, especially for managers in high growth sectors. These figures are likely to reflect the ongoing underrepresentation of women in such roles.

“The gulf in share options granted to men and women shows there is clearly considerable work to be done in narrowing the gender remuneration gap.

Check Warner, co-founder of venture capital firm Ada Ventures, added that the difference between share options for men and women far outweighs the gender pay gap.

He said: “The gender gap in share options eclipses the gap in basic pay between men and women. Women are missing out on crucial opportunities to build wealth and to build stakes in the businesses they work for.

“This is bad for our economy and anyone involved in the technology industry. It will lead to fewer female angel investors, fewer repeat female founders and fewer female venture capitalists.”

Warner added that businesses who included women in such ventures would see the benefits.

He added: “Businesses also benefit from diversity as diverse teams foster innovation and creativity. Inclusivity allows for more perspectives to be brought into the decision-making process. Lack of diversity can lead to ‘groupthink’ which in turn can hamper growth and have a negative impact on the bottom line.”

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