International Women’s Day 2021: an interview with Sally
International Women’s Day (IWD) is dedicated to celebrating women’s achievements, whether that be in the social, economic, cultural, or political sphere. It’s also a time for bringing attention to gender parity and women’s rights, and encouraging everyone — not just women — to come together and fight for change. In celebration of IWD, we wanted to speak to someone who inspires us. And we didn’t have to go too far to find one!
We sat down (virtually!) with our Managing Director, Sally, to ask her about her inspirations, aspirations, and what IWD means to her.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
For me, it’s a celebration of the contribution women make to the world. Often hidden, unremarked upon or, at worst, deliberately ignored or belittled, it’s a day to highlight women’s achievements.
The 2021 IWD theme is #ChooseToChallenge. How will you help forge a gender-equal world?
By speaking out when I see inequality and challenging lazy stereotypes. And not being passive… not accepting that ‘that’s just the way it is’.
Who are the female role models in your life and career?
In my career, my fabulous (previous) boss, Jen. As well as being a friend, Jen is a financial and planning wizard. She was really generous with her time and expertise when I was learning the ropes. If I have a difficult decision to make I still think “what would Jen do?”.
In the wider world, two women who combine a really impactful body of work, coupled with great and inspiring communication skills, are the artist and writer, Judith Kerr (The Tiger Who Came to Tea / When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit), and the philosopher, Onora O’Neill (Baroness O’Neill of Bengarve — her work on trust and trustworthiness should be compulsory reading!). Both calm and considered with their thoughts and work, they show a humility in greatness which I find very inspiring (and am yet to channel!).
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t be afraid to let your reach exceed your grasp!
What advice would you give to others trying to create a balanced workforce?
Look at your stats — does your staffing mix reflect the population, and if not, why not? Try harder to adjust the balance. If you use a recruiter, find out how they find their pool of candidates — do they always look in one place that may have built-in biases? Do you have any biases? Be honest! You may have to fight to adjust the balance in your organisation, or you may be belittled by those who feel challenged, but you must help get them on-side. Look out for organisations that will help you frame the reasons to support what you’re doing. Find champions within the organisation who are the opposite of what you’re trying to rebalance: so if you’re aiming to get more women on board, get female AND male champions to help make that change!
Thanks for taking the time to read. Be sure to follow us on Instagram to see how else we’re marking International Women’s Day 2021!