It’s International Women’s Day on March 8th and it’s always a great opportunity to pause and reflect on the firm strides that women have made in all walks of life,
and particularly in the world of business. It’s so motivational to remember that I am part of a female business community, that even less than 100 years ago simply didn’t exist. I draw great personal strength from the words and actions of fellow businesswomen and I am fortunate that in the work I do, I have the opportunity to build relationships with so many inspiring female role models. For me, the lasting year-round legacy of International Women’s Day is the reminder that it’s our duty as women to go forth and be role models for future generations too, and I try my best to do that every day.
I was incredibly fortunate that I had a strong female role model in my life at an early age. I think it really is that simple for me. My mum left school without O-Levels, she got divorced when her children were 7 and 9 and she was made redundant from her career in nursing. Did she just give up on life? Hell no, her life was just beginning! She went back to college, she got her GCSEs, she got her A-Levels, she went on to study for a degree and she became a teacher. All the while raising two girls and working. She even went on to get her master’s degree. So when I wonder where my resilience and drive comes from, I don’t have to look very far.
Despite this, when other women tell me they think I am a strong female leader, if I am honest it always makes me cringe a bit. Even though I’ve been running my own business for 4 years I still get imposter syndrome – that inner voice that says “you’re not capable” or “people will see that you’re not good enough”. I am pretty sure those feelings will never quite leave my side, so I have decided just to listen and then do it anyway. If we hang back, waiting for the voice to quieten, we will probably never start and will miss taking the leap that could make all the difference to our lives and our businesses. You have to treat that doubting voice like your disapproving Aunt who has had a few too many glasses of wine. Nod and smile…. And then just carry on regardless. Sometimes being a role model is making tough decisions, delivering talks and winning business – other days it’s being open and honest about mental health, fears and imposter syndrome.
What’s especially inspirational about this year’s International Women’s Day is the theme of #choosetochallenge, which resonates particularly well with the recently launched The Outsourced Recruitment Company Care4Candidates campaign. This IWD, as well as choosing to seek out and celebrate women’s achievements, we are being asked to ‘choose to challenge’ and call out gender bias and inequality – something that aligns very closely with the second of the four Care4Candidates pledges. Care4Candidates is driving for real change within the recruitment industry, focused on ensuring that candidates consistently receive the level of respect and care they deserve. Pledge two asks those employers joining our professional social movement for change to “Ensure that you have a fair and transparent selection process – one that encourages Equality and Diversity in your workforce”. Gender diversity in the workplace brings with it both inspiration, strength and resilience and this is only possible when employers, and the recruitment partners they use, put candidate equality at the centre of the process.
So make International Women’s Day your day and do what you can to truly make a positive difference for women in the workplace.