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Black History Month organisation focus on gender equality

ROLE MODEL: Charlene Laidley, Director of Women's Economic Empowerment for Black History Month

BLACK HISTORY Month, an organisation which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, has appointed Charlene Laidley as Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Laidley, who is an award-winning entrepreneur and advocate for the education and empowerment of women and girls, will lead and implement Black History Month’s global strategy on gender equality. She will work with corporations, government and educational institutions on economic empowerment programmes to promote women’s ability to secure decent jobs, higher incomes and gain access to economic resources and opportunities.

Laidley is a long-time campaigner for gender equality having spent over 10 years serving in a number of roles, including working with UN Women and the Women’s Global Leadership Initiative.

As Chief Executive Officer of Advancing Women Leaders, Laidley advises global corporations on women’s leadership development with the aim of closing the gender pay gap.

She is also the founder of the FutureProof Foundation, a non-profit grassroots organisation which has been empowering young women and girls into entrepreneurship in the City of Westminster since 2006.

Prior to her career in gender equality, Laidley trained in New York and Switzerland in luxury brand management, spending over eight years working in the luxury goods industry with organisations such as LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Unilever, P&G and Porsche Design.

She says:

“Coming from a working-class Caribbean family in inner-city Birmingham, I have experienced first-hand the challenges faced by women and girls of African and Caribbean descent in the UK who want to achieve great success.

"The lack of minority ethnic women as role models in leadership positions is a major contributor to the gender pay gap and I strongly believe that governments should aspire to close not just the headline gender pay gap, but the gender pay gaps experienced by women of different ethnicities.

"As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of Black History Month, I am proud to be joining a legacy of change-makers in racial equality so that every woman and girl regardless of race can fulfil her highest potential.”

Black History Month was launched in 1987 with the aim of recognising, rewarding and celebrating the incredible contributions made to Great Britain‘s society by the African and Caribbean communities. Supported today by Prime Minster Theresa May and the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, Black History Month continues in its mission to advance racial equality by working 365 days a year to increase diversity and improve the equality of opportunities for all.

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