Discussion paper – Gender diversity in Oxfordshire’s knowledge economy companies

This report, authored by Professor Simonetta Manfredi and Alexis Still from Oxford Brookes Business School, provides a snapshot of gender diversity in a sample of 110 companies, including 53 academic spinouts, selected from a list of innovation/knowledge-based companies, all based in Oxfordshire.

The picture that emerges from this snapshot is that of a male dominated innovation ecosystem. Women are significantly under-represented as company founders and this reflects the findings from the Oxfordshire Innovation Ecosystem report (2020) 

The size of the sample was determined by availability of resources to undertake desk-based research. Although it is a relatively small sample and firm conclusions cannot be drawn from it, it offers more granular information from a gender perspective about the average age of founders, their nationalities, degree of gender diversity within companies’ leadership teams, size of companies and level of investments.  The paper is based on desk-based research.

This paper is part of a project undertaken by the Centre for Diversity Policy Research and Practice focusing on increasing the representation of female scientists as founders of university spinout companies, which is funded by the EPSRC under its Inclusion Matters programme. University spinouts shape and are shaped by the local innovation ecosystem where they operate and therefore it is important to look at gender representation from a broader local perspective.

The key aim of this paper is to use its findings to stimulate engagement and further discussion with stakeholders to develop a more inclusive innovation ecosystem. There is scope to explore synergies between the work being undertaken as part of the Women and Spinouts project and action to promote greater diversity in the Oxfordshire innovation ecosystem.  The paper concludes by setting out a number of discussion points which we intend to take forward through a series of events later in 2021 (see the latest news section of our website for details of upcoming events.)

Click here to open the discussion paper

Featured image courtesy of Oxford nanoSystems

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