Northern powerhouse event criticised for male dominance

A two-day Northern Powerhouse conference in Manchester showcasing the best businesspeople in the north of England has been labelled ‘embarrassing’ for a lack of women speakers.

The conference, which charges £450 (plus VAT) to ‘network with the key players, potential business partners and stakeholders in the Northern Powerhouse economy’, has included only 13 female members on its 98 person speaker list. Some sessions have no female representation at all.

Criticism has arrived thick and fast with Labour’s candidate for Greater Manchester mayorship Andy Turnham tweeting that it was ‘embarrassing’ and Donna Hall, chief executive of Wigan Council branding the speaker line-up as ‘unbelievable’.

The conference organisers told the Guardian that women were ‘under-represented’ but insisted that companies usually chose for themselves which speakers to field.

[Image credit: Visit England]

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