Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate women’s achievements, to forge toward a gender equal world and to take action for equality. I wanted to take an opportunity to put something together around this topic. As a woman in business, I am so grateful, so lucky and so fortunate to live in a world where my opportunities are equal to those around me. I am also exceptionally fortunate to have been actively supported to follow my dreams and ambitions, which has led me to where I am now.
As a child, I was empowered to strive for greatness, to be strong and independent and celebrated for doing so, especially by my dad. He is someone who purposefully promotes equality and actively celebrates women. He has always been my cheerleader!
In later life, my husband gave me the confidence and the space to be able to accelerate my career in recruitment. He understood the need to sometime work abstract hours, celebrated the highs with me, and he supported me in the lows, helping me to accept that perfection (I am a Virgo after all) is not always attainable in this job due to the many, many moving parts! When Ruth and I decided to go it alone, Dan was there for us – he made us cups of tea and brought wine as we planned and worked late into the night, he forced us to get out of the head space we were in and took us for burgers (!), he gave us frank and honest feedback and has continued to be my rock. Latterly he’d supported me with the transition back to work as a mum, helped me to work out that balance and to become confident with my identity.
I found Ruth when we worked together previously and it is she who inspired me in my recruitment career. The fact that we have come together now as business partners and created R13, is everything I could have hoped for. She is like the ying to my yang. We have been through some HARD times, had to make tough decisions, but I know she has ALWAYS got my back. She is my epitome of a strong and successful woman. She rocks everything she puts her mind to, and her personal attributes are everything you could ever want in a best friend.
And yes, I have been lucky to have that support, but that is not to say that being a woman hasn’t been without it’s challenges. Yes, I have been under-estimated. Yes, I have been under-paid. Yes, I have been dismissed. Yes, I was worried about getting the balance between being a mum and having a career – I was shit scared and I had major denial! But, I have used those things to make me stronger, to learn from and taken real pride to use it as a big FUCK YOU when I’ve proved those people wrong.
And moving forwards now, as a business owner who employs a team of 50% women we haven’t even considered pay and benefits equality – that’s just a given. Our women are offered the exact same opportunities as the guys. Training, development, career & pay progression. There’s a structure in place for EVERYONE. We empower our team to push their own boundaries, to continue to grow their hard and soft skills with hands on coaching, and to become their best work versions of themselves. I am proud of every single one of them.
And as a team who support people to make career transitions, we want to continue to be a positive influence to empower not just women, but everyone we have the opportunity to work with to realise and understand their self-worth and champion them to achieve their career ambitions. What we do is an honour. It is an honour to have the opportunity to have the chance to make that impact with people, to be able to support them. So everyday I am grateful to live in a world which gives me these opportunities.
To those women who are breaking boundaries and inspiring the next generation of women what is possible – thank you for working hard to be the BEST – not just the best women, but the best in your CLASS.
To those women who are still striving for equality, and to everyone who supports them, keep your heads up, keep fighting.