This year, like the ones before, international women’s day has a theme in which we are encouraged to consider how we should be grateful and mindful of all the wonderful women we know.
Is the tagline for 2023. To #embraceequity this year, we encourage to forge a gender equal world and mindset. Obviously we can’t just do this one day a year, but hopefully through guidance and practice today, we can continue to challenge stereotypes and assumptions, whilst celebrating the achievements and efforts of all the women we know.
At Edit Agency Ltd, we encourage our female employees to use their voice and we show our appreciation on a regular basis! One thing we do is run a ‘Women in Leadership’ programme – it’s a fantastic opportunity to expand skills and confidence as a female in marketing/corporate settings; learning leadership techniques that can support in the participants development.
We had the pleasure of speaking to a couple of women from our programme to discuss what IWD means to them.
What does IWD mean to you?
RP: It’s an important milestone – not just in the calendar – but as it swells in size and scale every year to grow awareness of the status of women’s rights globally, and the achievements of women past and present who have fought for equality and continue to do so.
SH: IWD is a day where we can celebrate the women around us and the women we are too. It’s remembering how far we’ve come in history, but also being mindful of how much further we have to go too in terms of equality. It’s remembering your own worth and not settling for less.
What is something you love about the Women in Leadership Programme?
RP: The deep connections I have formed with my fellow leaders. I felt extremely lucky to be accepted and sponsored by Edit to do the course and knew from the syllabus I would be benefitting from a superior training experience; what has been a bonus is the great friendships and support that have emerged.
SH: The connections you are able to make with other women you may not have got to know otherwise. It challenges your assumptions and stereotypes and helps you become more mindful of the people around you, as well as yourself, and what you bring to the table.
Are there assumptions about women you wish were different?
RP: Yes, the idea that physical strength is still a differentiator. Strength is so much more than that and you don’t necessarily need body mass to prove it. Confucius said “The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” I love this quote as anyone can move a mountain, though of course, I don’t need to point out the glaring problem with it in this day and age. Every woman can move one too!
SH: That women don’t have to be feminine and small to be women, all women are women and all are beautiful! Whether you’re a body builder or a rugby player or a fashionista, all women are amazing and just because they may not look or act stereotypically ‘feminine’ does not mean they are less than a woman. We do not fit into one box. We are all unique.
What is something others can do in the workplace to achieve equality?
RP: Challenge your preconceptions before you act on them and don’t make assumptions about certain people’s experience or capabilities; this applies to all (not just in respect to women) – equality is for all.
SH: Listen! Listening is the most important thing, and don’t just pretend to listen then pipe up with a different argument. Allow women the chance to speak, especially in a male dominated world, and take their thoughts and ideas on board.
Can you name some women who inspire you?
RP: As a 70’s child growing up in a sport mad family, I wanted to play the same sports as my brother but mixed or all-female teams didn’t exist. This didn’t stop me though tagging along to football training and being one of very few girls in the UK snowboarding industry in the 90’s. Women like Martina Navratilova (Tennis legend who won 59 major titles and famously played Jimmy Connors in the third ‘battle of the sexes’ match) and Jenny Jones (snowboarder and first Briton to win a Winter Olympics medal) broke the glass ceiling for me.
SH: Any woman who is going after their passion and ambition, whether that’s being a top heavy weight champion or owning their own shop, any woman who is going after their dreams and not allowing others to put them in a box get a big thumbs up from me, go for the gold girls!
Do you have a message to share with all the lovely women you work with and/or know?
RP: Edit out unhelpful noise – my mantra in life is if someone says ‘you can’t do that’ my immediate response is ‘why not’? Believe in and be yourself; you are unique and that is your superpower.
SH: You are amazing, you have already made it this far in life so just imagine how much further you can go. You can achieve anything if you put your mind to it, and never let anyone dull your shine or stop you from being exactly who you want to be.
What has been the most invaluable piece of learning you’ve taken from the female leadership programme so far?
RP: How much I can help others to be the best version of themselves. I’ve particularly enjoyed the coaching module; probably because I can relate most to it from sport and my career.
SH: To believe in my abilities. You may not be the loudest or the most confident in the room, but that doesn’t matter, because your own strengths can be just as valuable if not more. The only person who will always believe in you will be yourself, so make sure you’re your own cheerleader, and push yourself to greatness. Don’t become like the other naysayers in your life, there will already be enough people trying to put you down, so don’t become one of them too.