International Women’s Day (IWD) is a chance for people from all genders and backgrounds to come together and acknowledge the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. While conversations about gender parity should take place every day of the year, it is the collective action and shared ownership behind IWD that make it such a powerful event.
Celebrating this day at Blenheim Chalcot, we held a guest-speaker panel comprising high achieving women leaders in technology and business followed by 4 inspiring entrepreneurial business pitches from Imperial College female students. Out of all the valuable insights our guest speakers shared, we’ve selected the best eight to share with you.
- Champion diversity – There is a wealth of evidence that diversity of thoughts, gender and culture, actually increases revenue and profit margins. So, not only is it good for the world, represents social justice and darn right obvious that the world inside an organisation should reflect the world outside, it is good business. So, whichever way you look at it, you need to be challenging yourself and championing diversity. Check this out: McKinsey&Company – Delivering Through Diversity
- Sponsorship – It’s easy to think, well if I do my work well, surely that will be recognised and that should be enough? It isn’t. A key difference between men and women is that women don’t generally actively seek out sponsorship… Have a look at this fantastic talk to see why it’s so important.
- Bring your whole self to work – Women often leave a big part of themselves at home. We hide our vulnerabilities, creativity and even good ideas in order to fit into a pre-conceived idea of what the workplace should be. When building a gender inclusive environment everyone must be able to bring their bring their whole selves to work. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, creative, and push the envelope.
- Let employees work in their own way, in a flexible way – We should be all about getting work done, doesn’t matter what it takes.
- Being kind to men in the workplace – Often childcare emergencies are okay for women, but not for men. That needs to change, it needs to be more acceptable for men to have the same flexibility to look after their home life as well as their work life.
- Equal pay – There is a lot employees can do to assure equal pay is practiced within their organisation. Do your research, don’t be afraid to ask questions and talk about it. You have to make the effort and ensure you are compensated equally for an equal job.
- Help others and speak up You can achieve everything if you have great people around you. That is why it is necessary to sometimes take a break from your daily tasks and help others grow. If you find yourself in a male dominated workplace, make sure you help the voices of women to be heard. Unfortunately, women do have to push that much harder to be heard. And while you stand up for yourself don’t forget your colleagues either.
- Stick with your values and follow your purpose – we as women can build great businesses with our values intact. We shouldn’t have to conform or compromise – we can do it in our own way…and succeed… Washington Post- Why it’s smart to invest in women-led companies
For more insight on how to tackle gender bias and inequality in the workplace, read this great article from Angus McCarey, CEO of one of our portfolio companies, Hive Learning.
Kate Newhouse, CEO Blenheim Chalcot