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Sam Smethers - Women leading the Worldwide Conversation

Here, in our seventh profile of the women who took part in the London launch of the ‘worldwide conversation’, we provide an insight into Sam Smethers’ background.

Written by Binda Rai |

Sam Smethers Chief Executive, Fawcett Society
Sam Smethers is Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, a leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights.

Women leading the worldwide conversation

Many women welcomed the introduction of gender pay gap reporting in April 2018, for companies in the UK with more than 250 employees. This campaign, and many others, have been spearheaded by the Fawcett Society, of which Sam Smethers is the Chief Executive.

An advocate for equal representation

Sam Smethers is Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, a leading charity campaigning for gender equality and women’s rights.

Prior to joining the Fawcett Society as Chief Executive, Ms Smethers also served as a trustee (2007 – 2010). She was also a trustee of Gingerbread (2007 to 2014) focusing on the needs of single parents.

Ms Smethers previously worked for the Equal Opportunities Commission as Director of Public Affairs, and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission. She was also Chief Executive of Grandparents Plus and has nine years’ experience of working in Parliament.

Ms Smethers is an advocate for equal representation, valuing and sharing care and closing the gender pay gap. Her work aims to address gender equality issues, including the lack of women leaders, and women’s career compromises when they have children. Ms Smethers also promotes women’s issues through publications including The Guardian and the Huffington Post.

As Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, Ms Smethers has spearheaded a number of their most important campaigns. Through Ms Smethers’ leadership, this year the Fawcett Society secured a landmark victory with the introduction of gender pay gap reporting by companies that have more than 250 employees. Commenting on the first year of gender pay gap reporting, Ms Smethers said:

'Gender pay gap reporting is a game changer in terms of workplace culture and practices. It forces employers to look at themselves and understand their organisations and it prompts employees to ask some hard questions.'

Other campaigns undertaken by the Fawcett Society during Ms Smethers’ time as Chief Executive include #OurTimeNow, celebrating 100 years since women secured the vote in the UK; #FaceHerFuture, which is looking to ensure that women’s rights are protected as Britain moves to leave the European Union, and Views Not Shoes, a campaign to call out sexism in the UK media.

Gender pay gap reporting is a game changer in terms of workplace culture… But even better than that, finally women are realizing that they have to talk about pay and they cannot be silenced.

To find out more about the exceptional women leaders who participated in the launch of the University of London’s ‘worldwide conversation’, please see links to the profiles already published:

Read more about the University of London’s ‘worldwide conversation’ London launch event and watch the video.