The best way employers and policymakers can improve childcare is to listen to parents, argues the winner of this year's Women in leadership MBA scholarship.
Jessica Leyshon, Marketing Director of Global Content Strategy and Localisation at Sage won this year's essay competition by drawing on her experience working for the UK Treasury to help design the Tax-Free Childcare scheme. She highlights that when policymakers and decision makers do not consult with parents on the design of support, it can lead to poorly structured schemes that are difficult to access. HR leaders - she notes - are closer to the workforce, and so should use their proximity through staff surveys and data to build empirically driven business cases to help provide childcare solutions for staff.
For 11 years, Henley has participated in this collaborative scholarship with the Financial Times and the 30% Club. Designed to encourage gender balance in leadership teams, the scholarship offers practical support for the development of strong female talent.
For the 2023 competition, entrants answered the question: “Affordable and flexible childcare is a challenge that concerns everyone. What role can employers and policymakers play?”.
Dr Ana Graça, Henley Business School’s Programme Director of Executive MBA Global, said:
"After eleven years of our successful partnership with the Financial Times and the 30% Club running the essay competition, it is really pleasing to receive so many insightful and diverse entries. The 2023 essays were, once again, full of innovative proposals to forward gender diversity and balance within the working environment, especially focusing on childcare policies. The winning essay took a fresh perspective on a specific theme: why government and employers should inform policy and other initiatives by listening to parents, as they are the most impacted by childcare costs (especially women). The judging panel also noted how the essay was very well-researched and very relatable. It is fantastic to see it now published in the Financial Times.
Congratulations to Jessica. I hope she can further enhance her career and personal journey in her MBA studies and use this opportunity to explore and implement change initiatives for gender parity.”
As the winner of our scholarship competition, Jessica has received a fully-funded Executive MBA scholarship. The winner will benefit from being part of Henley’s international cohort on our Global Executive MBA, an enhanced multi-campus programme delivered across the UK and its international campuses in Germany, Denmark and Finland, featuring a global syllabus and immersive overseas study experiences in South Africa and the USA.
Jessica's winning essay is published on the FT’s Women in Business page, and is free to read.