Women in leadership and Girls Creating
Yesterday I attended the women in leadership talk at the Meetings Show, Olimpia London. The talk was moderated by Katherine Dashper from Leeds Beckett and she was joined by Tracey Halliwell (London & Partners), Caroline Windsor (TFI Group) and Jenny McLaren (NAHT). Besides female leadership being the main theme for our content this month, it is also the focus for our latest campaign Girls Creating so I was super excited to hear what the speakers would have to say!
Our last campaign #CSRshareDay had a reach of 1.2 million and we are planning to top that with our Girls Creating Campaign. #CSRshareDay was a great opportunity for leaders across the globe to host an hour of conversation on twitter as part of a 24 hour conversation, many of these leaders being women. It was amazing to see so many passionate people at the Meetings Show talk and I am confident that we can use our reach from our last campaign to communicate the concerns and successes of many passionate women through Girls Creating.
It is thought that gender stereotypes are formed in girls' minds around the ages of 7-9. These gender stereotypes will inevitably guide what career paths they decide to take. We want to use Girls Creating to shine a light on those female leaders in events, but also highlight some of the challenges that are holding women back. When I was 9 I dreamed of being a singer, and although that didn't quite work out I had strong female leaders around me encouraging me to be what I wanted to be...
Some of the challenges identified in the discussions yesterday morning focused on childbirth, pay equality, confidence and even a lack of understanding from men. For instance (and this genuinely did happen), after the talk I had a meeting with a male client and when I said that I had just been at the women in leadership session he said...
'Were you all being sexist and hating on men?'
And laughed as if it was all a bit of a joke. I myself laughed along as I do in those situations, as I'm too embarrassed to say something back to a superior male. But in fact, he probably didn’t even realise the negative connotations that came with his comment. I think it is important to bridge this gap together rather than slamming men, I’ve met some amazing and inspirational men in my career so far. Some may call it a coincidence but maybe I was just more aware after the talk, but I saw an example of a confidence barrier yesterday too. I spoke to a female leader who is a business development manager at an organisation and she was truly shocked that I wanted her to be involved with Girls Creating. She is a role model for young girls yet she didn't see how strong and inspirational she can be. It's funny how you perceive someone in a certain way and they don't share the same view, this can happen all too often with women but why should we lack more in confidence than our male counterparts?
So yesterday revealed that so many women experience the same barriers in their careers, but it also revealed that each one of them wants to make a change, not just for themselves but for generations to come. So let's join together, let's make a stand as powerful and strong women who can achieve whatever they want to achieve and lead the future generations into an equal workplace and towards a more prosperous future for all!!
Although I’m not the popstar I dreamt of being (my colleagues often tell me to add more songs to my repertoire when singing at work), I have found something that I am passionate about and at such an early stage in my career I am going to give it 100%. There’s no time to let my doubts or stepback get the best of me, life is simply too short!