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Home > News > International Women’s Day 2021

International Women’s Day 2021

05 March 2021 |

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and raises awareness about equality and gender parity. The theme for this year is #ChoosetoChallenge.

In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we asked our team: How can we continue to create a workplace that encourage gender equality, and what unique challenges have they faced in their career?

How can we continue to create workplaces that encourage gender equality?

Melissa Toney, Head of Regulatory and Licensing

“Be more transparent in addressing the gender pay gap and stop asking employees what they were paid at their last job or what they want to be paid. It can be quite an intimidating question for fear of losing the opportunity and more often than not people undervalue themselves. Other ways we can do this are by:

  • Identifying barriers in job descriptions that indirectly discourage applications from women into senior roles, by maybe including other types of experience that can broaden the pool of applications for the role.
  • Put in place same-sex career mentor programmes that will help cultivate younger staff to move into senior roles. Make this available to everyone.
  • Positively encourage work/life balance making it more an entitlement and not a punishment for women who prioritise home life. One of the biggest hurdles for women is childcare support and can often lead to early exits from their careers.
  • Companies need to be able to identify that bullying in the workplace can be a real issue for junior staff. It is demoralising and really hinders growth especially when female junior staff are made to feel inferior in an all-boys club. It is a company’s responsibility to support and protect its staff and ensure any behaviours of this type are identified and stopped.”

 

Heledd Wyn, Director & Head of Long-Term & Elderly Care

“Flexible working is hugely helpful to anyone who has a need to combine working and caring responsibilities. It is important to trust your team to do the work needed – even if it is at varying times of the day it allows for much greater parity of opportunity in the workplace”.

What unique challenges have you faced in your career as a woman? How did you overcome them?

Bridget Juckes, Associate Director – Corporate & Commercial

“Qualifying as a corporate lawyer in London the mid-1980s meant that I had to be very careful not to be the person (i.e., only woman) in meetings who would be asked to deal with any administration/practical issues that cropped up in the course of the meeting. I dealt with this by making it quite clear that I did not know how to type, had immense difficulty in operating a photocopier and made rubbish coffee. If anyone persisted, they were usually very surprised at quite how bad the coffee was.

I have often passed on what was possibly the best piece of advice I was given. Always wear a bright coloured jacket when attending larger gatherings – if you are going to be the odd one in a room full of grey suited men out you might as well stand out properly. Simple but oh, so effective!”

 

Jo Stevens, Head of Marketing & Business Development

“10 years ago, I left a job I loved in advertising because my employer made it very clear that they wouldn’t entertain the idea of flexible working for parents. I was determined to keep my career on track and have children.

Since having my daughter I have only chosen roles in businesses where flexible working is understood, valued, and supported. Haven’t looked back!”

 

Meg Clifford, Digital Marketing Coordinator

“I am lucky enough to say that I haven’t experienced many challenges in my career by being a woman. I’d like to think this is because we are slowly becoming a more progressive and gender diverse society.

Although sadly I have come into contact with male professionals who hold very outdated views about women, enjoy mansplaining and sexist jokes. I’d overcome these types of behaviours by standing my ground or by bringing their mansplaining and sexist comments to their attention so that they can hopefully correct their patterns of behaviour and biases.”

 

Heledd Wyn, Director & Head of Long-Term & Elderly Care

“Most law firms have male partners of a certain age – which reflects how the law industry and profession was 20-30 years ago. We lose a lot of mid-level lawyers and this can make the balance at the top remain male oriented. So, the challenge is simply recognising that as a woman, you may well be in a minority – but this doesn’t mean that you are not capable! Perseverance and hard work will win out in the end.”

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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