Ambitious, passionate, successful female retailers are urged to enter the 2015 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassador programme, which launches today. This initiative, fronted by Dame Mary Perkins, champions and promotes women in retail – be they working in organisations or as entrepreneurs. By showcasing the diversity and breadth of opportunities the industry offers, this programme plays a vital role in presenting retail as an exciting and rewarding career choice.


With 80% of household purchasing decisions made or influenced by women, having senior decision makers that reflect and understand the customer base is essential for any successful retail business. Yet, while 60% of the total retail industry workforce is female, less than 5 percent make it into senior management or to board level. This spells potential disaster for the UK’s largest private sector employer.

In addition, by 2022, due to anticipated retail growth the industry will require an additional 60,000 managers.* It is essential therefore that companies not only promote their entry level jobs but also invest in the development of their female talent, motivating and encouraging them into senior roles. This is why the 2015 Specsavers everywoman in Retail Ambassador programme was launched – to uncover talented successful female retailers, role models who will inspire more women to consider a career in retail.


Maxine Benson, co-founder of everywoman comments: “There is phenomenal diversity when it comes to roles in retail, from customer-facing positions through to marketing, supply chain and technology. This programme is all about celebrating and championing the inspirational women who have navigated their way up the ladder and demonstrate that retail is a career, rather than just a job. I urge anyone who is going over and above to achieve success, to apply.” For further press information please call 020 3286 6980 or contact: Victoria Evans 07766 244322 Charlotte Heath-Bullock 07788 870861


Dame Mary Perkins, founder of Specsavers, continues: “Fortunately, the role of women in the workplace is becoming more recognised. The retail industry in particular has seen a vast improvement at board level in recent years, but there is much more work to be done. At Specsavers, at least 25% of our store partners are female and two thirds of our workforce (67.3%) are women. From board directors to dispensing opticians the contribution made by these women every day sets the standard by which other industries should measure themselves.”

Last year’s Ambassadors featured women from all over the country, of all ages and with different skillsets and roles, ranging from management in national multiple retailers to the founders of innovative boutique brands. Women can enter themselves, or be nominated by others and it is free to enter here.

Partners of this programme include Diversity Champions Asda and Worldpay. The Ambassadors will be selected by a judging panel including Helen Dickinson, Director General of the BRC and Jo Delbridge, Director of Public Relations, Specsavers and Sue James, Editor, woman&home.


The chosen Ambassadors will be announced at a reception at Claridge’s in London on 17th September 2015. For further information regarding the programme as well as tickets please visit here.


Notes to editors:

*People 1st: Management and leadership needs in retail, January 2015

**UKTI, UK retail industry: international action plan, July 2014

About everywoman

Founded in 1999, everywoman is a global membership organisation that champions the advancement of women. Our members include well-known companies looking to develop and retain a pipeline of female leaders, and women who are looking to advance themselves in organisations or their own business.

everywoman supports any woman at any stage in their career. For those women starting out or looking to progress their careers or businesses, the everywomanNetwork provides personal development resources, connections, advice and inspiration to address the issues we know women face. As they For further press information please call 020 3286 6980 or contact: Victoria Evans 07766 244322 Charlotte Heath-Bullock 07788 870861


progress, our events and leadership programmes support the development of confident, capable and charismatic leaders. Promotion to the top echelons of senior management or being at the helm of your own large business brings with it a different set of challenges, ones addressed by everywomanClub. Our Award programmes and projects such as The Navigator and Modern Muse showcase role models who inform and inspire future leaders and the next generation, positioning the organisations they work for as ones with career opportunities for women.

About Specsavers

Specsavers is a Partnership of almost 2,000 locally-run opticians throughout the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Nordics, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. Each store is part-owned and managed by its own directors who are supported by key specialists in support offices that provide a range of services including marketing, accounting, IT and wholesaling, among others. There are currently more than 1,700 partners in the UK and Republic of Ireland alone, of whom 548 have been with the Partnership for at least ten years. Specsavers was founded in 1984 by husband and wife team, Doug and Dame Mary Perkins, who pioneered the optical joint venture partnership model and also revolutionised the industry with their innovative concept of affordable, fashionable eyecare for everyone. Specsavers has partnered with everywoman to support women in retail since 2008.

About Worldplay

The UK leader in payments, Worldpay helps businesses of all sizes sell more to their customers – by accepting credit and debit card payments in-store, online, via mail or telephone, and on the move. We handle nearly half of all card payments made on the UK High Street.

Globally, Worldpay processes over 8.4 billion transactions every year. Our online payment options cater for over 200 payment types in 115 currencies.