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International Women’s Day at Liverpool Chamber

Celebrating International Women’s Day: Inspiring inclusion in the workplace

International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women whilst advocating for gender equality.

Under the theme “Inspiring Inclusion,” this year’s International Women’s Day encourages individuals and organisations to reflect on the advancements made, while also recognising the challenges that still persist.

In partnership with Liverpool Women’s Hospital, we will also be hosting an event on women’s health and workplace equality on March 15th, find out more and join us for a morning of inspiration, knowledge-sharing, and networking!

Below some of our fantastic female board and staff members share insight on how women can continue to fight the gender bias whilst empowering one another to achieve a more successful and inclusive future for everyone.

Alison Lobb – Chair of Liverpool Chamber and Managing Partner at Morecrofts Solicitors

On International Women’s Day I believe it’s important to reflect on the opportunities we can provide for women in the workplace. We have some amazing women doing brilliant things, but others still feel held back.

When discussing inclusion there’s talk about barriers, and thoughts immediately turn to issues like maternity and childcare, other caring and health considerations. However, we still live in a world largely designed by men, for men, as far as business is concerned, and it’s important to look more deeply at reasons why women don’t progress in certain careers or settings.

As business owners we should all be addressing issues such as the language we use and the messages we send, as well as reviewing how flexible we can be, to provide for as many people as possible, women and men, to achieve their true potential. Whether that’s in our businesses or others, if we grow the economy by supporting others to achieve, we all benefit.

Sue Patterson – Non-Executive Director, Liverpool Chamber & Sector Development Manager, Manufacturing Technology Centre

There is still a misconception that some industries, particularly Construction, is a man’s job – this stereotyping and the lack of visibility of women in leadership discourages women from entering the field. Promoting successful women in these sectors through mentorship programs and showcasing their achievements can highlight the vast array of careers available and encourage more women into industry.

Women are making serious waves in traditionally male-dominated industries, and their impact demonstrates that success isn’t tied to gender. This inspires others to pursue their passions regardless of stereotype. Women bring a different perspective and often approach problems differently, leading to innovation. As more and more women gain leadership roles, they advocate for policies supporting working life balance, parental leave, and anti-discrimination measures, these policies are creating a more welcoming environment for everyone, not just women.

The use of ‘token women’ as a mere box-ticking exercise is a significant barrier to true inclusivity in the workplace. There is still a lack of women in leadership roles, organisations should be offering training and mentoring to support women into positions of leadership and then promote their success. Women who have carved their path are often willing to mentor and sponsor other women coming through the ranks, and supportive male mentors are actively contributing to breaking down gender barriers. Organisations need to develop diversity and inclusion strategies that go beyond simply filling quotas and focus on paving the way for a more inclusive and successful future for everyone.

Mel Cheung-Turner – Non-Executive Director, Liverpool Chamber & Founder My Creative Thoughts

As a woman in business and having served on a number of Boards, it’s refreshing to see how perceptions to inclusion and diversity has evolved over the years, and noticing an increasing representation of females on boards and more women working in underrepresented industries.

For any young women starting out in their careers, particularly in a traditionally male-dominated sector, my advice would be to just go out there and show what you’re capable of. Whether it’s delivering the results or making things happen, let your capability and work shine through. Show businesses and organisations what you’re made of and let’s celebrate women in the workplace today, on International Women’s Day and every day.

Lizzie Johnson – Head of Commercial Services, Liverpool Chamber

Businesses thrive when they have a dynamic workforce, with different ways of thinking and past experiences. The most successful businesses are those that understand this and therefore aim to diversify. Women in traditionally male dominated industries break the status quo and can identify that, just because something has always been done ‘that way’, there can be other, potentially better, ways of working going forward.

There remains a societal expectation that women will work as if they don’t have a home-life, while also taking care of their home-life as if they don’t work. Employers will have a much more loyal and happier workforce, if they allow their workforce to have a true work life balance. This need for flexibility applies to men too, so that the home-life workload can be shared.

My key advice for women, is to treat other women as allies. We can all succeed – it’s not a competition. By supporting and empowering other women, we all win.

Vicky Rooney – Events Manager, Liverpool Chamber

My advice for women in underrepresented industries:

  1. Build a Strong Network:
    Connect with other women in your industry through networking events, conferences, and online platforms. Building a good support system can give you valuable insights and help you navigate personal/professional challenges.
  2. Share your ideas and opinions
    Visibility is crucial for career advancement. Volunteer for speaking engagements, contribute to industry publications, and actively participate in discussions.
  3. Embrace Challenges
    View challenges as opportunities for growth rather than obstacles. The ability to overcome challenges can make you a stronger and more respected professional.
  4. Establish the right Balance
    Prioritise self-care, mental health and find the right balance that works for you. It’s essential to avoid burnout and ensure you have the energy to excel in your career.

Courtney Williams – Export Documentation Assistant, Liverpool Chamber

On International Women’s Day, I celebrate the resilience, determination, and achievements of women who navigate and thrive in male-dominated industries. Despite facing challenges such as gender bias, stereotypes, and unequal opportunities, we continue to break barriers and pave the way for future generations of women.

Our voices, skills, and contributions are invaluable, and we deserve equal recognition, respect, and opportunities in the workplace. Let us support one another, and advocate for gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in all industries. Happy International Women’s Day to all the trailblazing women out there!

Jess Miller – Marketing Executive, Liverpool Chamber

My advice for women starting a career within an industry they feel underrepresented in would be to believe in yourself and recognise your own worth and capabilities. Confidence in your skills and abilities will be crucial in navigating a potentially challenging environment.

Look for mentors, both male and female, who can offer guidance and support as you navigate your career path, they can provide insights, advice, and help you network within the industry. Staying resilient throughout your career will help you to understand that challenges and setbacks are a normal part of any journey. Stay resilient, learn from your experiences, and keep pushing forward towards your goals.

Empowered women, empower women!

Elena Enciso – Head of International Trade, Liverpool Chamber

Empowering through education

Looking back on my own experiences, influenced by the cultural norms of 1970s in the Spanish post-Franco era, gender stereotypes where prevalent in society. These stereotypes defined distinct roles for boys and girls within our homes and schools. I found myself assigned traditional gender-specific responsibilities whilst my brother enjoyed greater freedoms in general.

Despite these disparities in equal access to education, my generation served as a beacon of hope for positive change. Education was the great equaliser, introducing girls to positive female role models and the acceptance of women in higher-earning capacities and decision-making roles.

As a parent and advocate for education, I encourage my two daughters to pursue their educational aspirations and to shape a better world for them and those around them.

Jessica Sturgeon – Marketing Assistant, Liverpool Chamber

Each year on International Women’s Day, I feel it is important to acknowledge and highlight the many issues and challenges faced by women globally whether this is in or outside of business.

It has never been more important to use our platforms and voices to advocate for the ongoing need for gender equality, encouraging discussions on the disparities that exist between men and women in various aspects of life, including education, employment, healthcare, and representation.

Whilst I feel it’s essential that we draw attention to the endless challenges that persist, IWD for me serves as a crucial time to also celebrate the achievements of women, to inspire women to be confident, assertive and proactive in achieving goals and support their personal growth. After all, this will contribute massively to the ongoing global efforts to create a more inclusive world for everyone!