And here’s wishing you a happy International Women’s Day from Charlotte Street Partners.
The week has already been marked by global protests calling for equal pay, equality in the workplace, an end to violence against women, and in Ireland, the government has chosen today to publish details of the forthcoming referendum on a repeal of the abortion ban. It goes without saying that companies have also contributed their fair share of dodgy marketing to the festivities.
The occasion was marked in parliament when Jeremy Corbyn faced up to the prime minister yesterday on the gaps in gender equality. Sensing her opportunity and with tongue firmly in cheek, the prime minister thanked the honourable gentleman for reminding her of the occasion, adding, “I think that’s what’s called ‘mansplaining”.
But parliamentary doozies and questionable marketing tactics aside, what really caught my eye yesterday was something rather less funny. According to a new poll conducted by Sky Data for the #100Women campaign, most Britons believe feminism has gone far enough. What’s more; 40% of people said it had already gone too far. Just one third said there was work still do (33%).
The poll reminded me of a separate study from November last year to mark Equal Pay Day that showed the gender pay gap for women in their twenties was growing for the first time in a generation, and was already five times greater than figures from the start of the decade. As Sandi Toksvig pointed out in a tweet this morning, “The World Econ Forum says equal will be achieved in the year 2234. Just 217 years to wait. Yeah!”
These sort of headlines make for sobering reading but are timely reminders of the continued relevance of days like today to keep these issues at the top of the agenda. International Women’s Day may invite us all to celebrate in the progress that has been made – and rightly it should - but we’re clearly not all on the same page yet.
Former Russian double agent, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent, according to new information released by the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terror unit on Wednesday. The attack marks one of the first times it has been used as a weapon outside of war and increases the likelihood that the attack was backed by a foreign government. Police are now seeking the source of the gas which is thought to be rarer than Sarin or VX nerve agents.
President Trump has indicated he may soften his approach to trade tariffs by excluding Canada, Mexico and other “allies” after leading corporate lobbyists pointed out that protectionist measures could slow economic growth. The intervention was prompted by the resignation of Trump’s chief economic advisor, Gary Cohn, in response to the proposed tariffs, which the president has said he will approve today to go into effect in 15-30 days.
Two hundred business leaders, entrepreneurs, MPs and academics have signed an open letter led by The Telegraphcalling on the Government to boost female entrepreneurship in Britain. Celebrating International Women’s Day, the letter’s signatories include business women Samantha Cameron, Karen Brady and Mary Portas, who suggest that a gap in the gender diversity of entrepreneurs has hampered UK economic growth and could be rectified through greater investment in women-led initiatives.
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
The chairwoman of the Institute of Directors has temporarily “stood aside” whilst allegations that she made racist and sexist comments about her staff are investigated. Lady Barbara Judge faces 41 allegations according to preliminary findings in the legal investigation led by Hill Dickinson, which reportedly note staff fearing recriminations and exposed the organisation to a string of employment tribunals during Judge’s three-year tenure.
The average number of properties available to buy or rent in the UK has hit a record low, according to a survey by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The survey reported that estate listings hosted an average of 42 listings in February, more than halving in a decade. New buyer enquiries fell for an eleventh consecutive month, as did the number of agreed sales and new customers. Buyer demand has fallen most in London and the South East, but has risen in Scotland, Northern Ireland and the North East.
Lloyds TSB breached internal rules governing auditor independence by removing £800,000 of fees due to be paid to PWC from its 2008, documents used in a High Court case have revealed. According to internal emails at Lloyds, the fees were allocated for “independent business reviews” of troubled companies and were moved to other financial years so that the bank could continue awarding PWC work contracts without breaching a £2 million limit.
What happened yesterday?
Despite a shaky start to the day on the markets over the resignation of President Trump’s chief economic adviser over trade tariffs, London stocks finished higher on Wednesday. At close of play, the FTSE 100 stood at 7,157.84 or up by 0.16%.
Rolls-Royce saw the day’s biggest wins, soaring 11.7% on its latest results which showed every division outperforming analysts’ expectations. At the other end of the scale, communications firm WPP’s woes continued as it shed another 3.9%, having failed to stem concerns in its stock since posting results last week which showed the firm’s worst year for growth since 2009.
But company news were only partially behind the day’s movements, as news that Gary Cohn had resigned as chief economic adviser to the White House hit markets worldwide. And for investors, the future doesn’t look too bright. Having resigned over Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, Cohn’s departure signals an inability among Trump’s advisors to steer the president towards more laissez-faire policies, and in turn, raises the likelihood that Cohn’s successor will be someone who both condones Trump’s tariff rises and is willing to ramp up a trade war with America’s competitors.
Sterling stayed relatively stable, however, suffering a 0.1% fall against the dollar at $1.39 and remaining essentially flat versus the euro at €1.12.
Alfa Financial Software Holdings
Capital & Regional
Dairy Farm International Holdings Ltd. (Singapore)
Domino’s Pizza Group
Frontier Smart Technologies Group Limited
Hongkong Land Holding Ltd. (Sing.Reg)
Irish Continental Group Units
Jardine Matheson Holdings Ltd (Singapore Reg)
Jardine Strategic Holdings Ltd. (Singapore)
Mandarin Oriental International (Singapore)
Ladbrokes Coral Group
UK Economic Announcements
(00.01)RICS Housing Maket Survey
Intl. Economic Announcements
(07.00) Factory Orders (GER)
(12.45) ECB Interest Rate (EU)
COLUMNS OF NOTE
Writing in The Times, Jenni Russell comments that the government should seek a multi-option, two-part referendum in order to allow voters a final choice on the eventual Brexit deal. Pointing out that the first EU referendum was flawed for its binary simplicity, Russell suggests another referendum would give voters the choice between the governments deal, no-deal, or remaining with the EU. After the least popular option is knocked out in the first stage, a second vote held a week later would be won on a simple majority for the remaining choices.
Stephen King comments in the FT that the long run of global economic success should be raising alarm bells about an impending downswing.Looking to recent history, King suggests crashes emerge when multiple countries are each growing above their long-run trends and are usually thrown off their trajectory by unexpected financial and economic upheavals. In particular, King points to changes that a trade war might bring and insurgent politicians too eager to rock the economic boat in pursuit of a “new economy”.
DID YOU KNOW?
The origins of an International Women’s Day can be traced to 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding voting rights, better pay and shorter working hours. A year later, the first National Woman’s Day was observed in the US on February 28, in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, but was later transferred to March 8 in 1913 and was only recognised by the United Nations in 1975 despite being celebrated every year since.
House of Commons
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (including Topical Questions)
Church Commissioners, the Public Accounts Commission and the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission
Business Questions to the Leader of the House - Andrea Leadsom
General debate on Vote 100 and International Women’s Day
Rivers authorities – David Warburton
House of Lords
Supporting women who are victims of domestic violence - Baroness Bertin
Ensuring employment protections for women provided for by EU law will be maintained when the UK leaves the EU - Baroness Gale
Improving the security of undersea cables linking the UK with the US and other countries - Lord Berkeley
Russian threats to individuals residing in the UK, following the suspected poisoning of Sergei Skripa - Lord Faulks
Finance (No. 2) Bill – 2nd reading remaining stages – Lord Bates
Debate, to mark International Women’s day, on the steps being taken to press for progress on gender equality globally – Baroness Williams of Trafford
First Minister’s Questions
Save the Greenbelt – Graham Simpson
Scottish Government Debate
International Women’s Day
House of Commons
No business scheduled.
House of Lords
No business scheduled
No business scheduled