To celebrate International Women’s Day, hear from a number of influential business leaders and business women in the Liverpool City Region / North West.
Lynn Lock, Chief Executive, I Am Moore
With International Women’s Day 2022 focusing on breaking the bias, I Am Moore has worked with so many young women throughout the last 18 months that have been desperate for opportunities, but unable to have their voices heard for so many different reasons…until now!
There is still a stigma when employing in some sectors, that women are less qualified or less able to complete a high-standard of work than their male counterparts, but this is completely untrue and there is a huge pool of talent out there that if given the opportunity, can be the female business leaders of generations to come.
Jacqui Johnson, communications director, Sutcliffe
Into my 27th year at Sutcliffe, I have seen the company and the sector evolve greatly throughout the last two and a half decades, with approximately 14% of the construction industry now made up of strong, successful and knowledgeable women.
Misconceptions about gender specific roles are gradually diminishing and it is encouraging to see higher numbers of women leaving school, college and education, and now choosing a career in construction, with days such as International Women’s Day and Women In Construction Week helping to shine a spotlight on the career paths available for the next generation of engineers.
Normandie Wragg, CEO, Nugent
As a major employer in Merseyside, as of April 1st we are proud providers of the Real Living Wage, which is the culmination of focussed work in our charity, and attention on our core work and values.
Our staff and staff in the sectors of special education, health and social care, deserve the recognition and opportunity for all that they do helping those in our communities, and that goes for both our male and female employees, with a huge impetus placed upon closing the gender pay gap through this pay scheme.
As an organisation that cares about social justice, it is also imperative that we fly the flag for women in business and by empowering females no matter their age, profession or goals in life, we can play our own small part in helping to inspire and motivate women who previously may have felt like they weren’t able to achieve their dreams.
Lisa Richards, Company Director at MSP Global
As Company Director, with over 35 years of experience producing national and international events, I ensure our organisation continues to deliver creative and seamless productions to the highest standard
I also work alongside a fantastic team of production managers, AV engineers, event organisers and broadcast camera operators and editors.
If you’re a young woman at the start of your career working in an industry where you may feel under-represented, the best advice I can give you would be to join an online community or networking group such as the Northern Power Women community. This group can help you connect with people who have overcome the challenges you’re facing right now.
As they say – When women support each other, incredible things happen!
Racheal Jones, CEO, One Knowsley
With Knowsley suffering from a severe lack of health and education funding from the government, I see on a daily basis the inequalities for women in accessing opportunities to enhance their wellbeing and develop their valuable skills to be part of the workforce. Earning a living wage to increase their own and their families life chances is a crucial step to flourish and thrive.
Leaders must continue to engage with and listen to the needs of women to support them, recognise their contributions and remove barriers to unlock their potential. Days such as International Women’s Day, shine a spotlight on gender disparity and, importantly, celebrate the fantastic contribution to our society and economy that women make.
Liz Hartley, director of project management services, Hive Projects
Whether it is bias, gender disparity or a lack of opportunities, we need to ensure that there is no prejudice in any workplace with gender gaps closed for women in every industry.
At Hive Projects, our senior and management teams are an equal mix of talented men and women, and we are keen to maintain this supporting parity in the workplace and in the sector.
All of our staff are provided with the support, training and opportunities that they need, and we will continue to empower our team, in order for them to be role models for current and future employees at Hive.
Sam Bushell, head of family law and managing director, Brown Turner Ross
At Brown Turner Ross, there is great importance placed upon the celebration of our incredible female lawyers and employees, and this praise cascades down through the office and ensures a happy and motivated workforce, both for males and females.
As a company with a female managing director and over 60% of our workforce being females, we are fully aware that our actions can and will inspire the future of our sector for years to come and I am very proud that we continue to nurture and attract such a high calibre of female lawyers at the company, further ‘breaking the bias’ in a stereotypically male dominated industry.
Caitlin Yeung, marketing assistant and former Kickstarter, Jayne Moore Media
As a member of the Gen Z community and as a female, there is so much pressure placed upon us to climb the career ladder and to drive, own a home and ‘reach the top’ before the age of 30.
However, that really isn’t achievable for many, and without the female mentors and role models that I’m lucky enough to have in my sector, including my MD Jayne Moore, I certainly wouldn’t be in the strong position that I find myself in.
Through networking and meeting a mixture of young and experienced female leaders on a daily basis, I am now able to be a part of the ‘wider conversation’ and it is encouraging that discussions are being had on a regular basis to allow women to reach for the stars, which culminates in the celebrations of International Women’s Day.
Melanie Lewis, chief exec, Shakespeare North Playhouse
International Women’s Day is an incredibly significant day and a day that we can celebrate the successes of female leaders and activists around the world.
The day gives us the opportunity to reflect on the achievements and the work done already, as well as to remember the sacrifices made by women, who have subsequently given us the freedom that we now enjoy.
Unfortunately, globally, I am still in the minority when it comes to having these freedoms and it is crucial in what seems like such a divided world with human rights under threat in so many ways, that we look at how we can all contribute as women to make the world a better place for generations to come.
I have been really lucky growing up with amazing role models – with three sisters who are businessowners, a mother who was the first woman to ever grace the Liverpool Stock Exchange Trading Floor and a father and husband who are strong feminists too – however it is important to recognise that not everyone has these strong role models and support. Days like today will hopefully give others the confidence and the power to stand up and become the leaders and activists of tomorrow.
Dr Natalie Kenny, CEO, BioGrad
As a business owner and a member of society, I am a fierce advocate for gender equality. I think the only way we will see real change though, is if we look directly at the working environments for men and women.
I don’t want any parents working at BioGrad to be concerned about returning to work because of the cost of childcare or the very limited amount of paternity leave given through UK legislation – as a business leader in my community though, these are things I can actively change.
Frankly we shouldn’t even need an IWD, we are the biggest percentage of the population and we go around free of charge (in many cases) to discuss how we aren’t getting the opportunities that we deserve! However, it is up to women to actually be vocal and name and shame the gender bias they’ve experienced in the workplace in order for this to change.
Maggie O’Carroll, chief executive of The Women’s Organisation in Liverpool
“International Women’s Day 2022, for me, is particularly poignant. The social and economic impact of the pandemic has unarguably presented a pause in terms of progress on gender equality – perhaps even a U-turn.
“COVID-19 has presented new and unprecedented challenges for women in terms of balancing additional care and their careers, and those sectors in which women are predominant have been hit the hardest by furlough, cuts and ultimately redundancy.
“Last year, we saw the gender pay gap widen for the first time since 2017 – experts predict the time needed to close the global gender gap has increased by a generation. And pre-existing social disparities have been exacerbated too, with worrying spikes in domestic violence and threats to women’s personal safety. International Women’s Day calls for us to imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable and inclusive. And in so many ways, certainly in the last two years, this has felt almost impossible to do.
“But what the last two years has also shown us, perhaps clearer than ever, is that women are resilient. Women are fearless. Women are unsurmountable. And women are enterprising.
“Findings reveal that more women than ever are starting new businesses. And indeed, throughout lockdown, we saw our enquiries at The Women’s Organisation almost treble – a heartening sign that women weren’t about to just accept the hand they’d been dealt. The growth in women-owned and all women-run businesses outstripped growth in male-led firms for the first time, and this is not by accident. It is a clear indication of women taking charge. Women creating better futures for themselves and for all women.
“The first International Women’s Day was in 1909. And now, 113 years on, women still spend their entire lives breaking socio norms, because ultimately and unfortunately, many challenges and obstacles for women still exist. However, inspirational women from across the social, political and business spectrum, too many to count, are working to smash the barriers of bias and transform our society every minute of every day – and they do so unphased, unequivocally, and often unintentionally – it’s almost written into our DNA.
“So, let us take International Women’s Day as a moment of positive pause after two years of turmoil and momentous change. Let’s take a breath and then continue to break the bias in our workplaces and in our communities as we forge ahead in our collective pursuit for an equal, fair and sustainable future.”