There’s been a lot of news recently regarding the London receptionist for not wearing heels, but why is it that this type of news receives national television, radio and newspaper coverage? Is this really the highlight of women in business? And are people really surprised that this stigma is still happening in the workplace?
Yes, it is the 21st century, and there are plenty of women in business who are celebrated, but it’s the unsung masterminds of businesses, who don’t wear heels all the time, that we choose to celebrate today, but really, they should be celebrated every day!
I work in an all women workforce, something of which I am very proud of. We are a corporate finance/business support company like no other, quirky, honest, Northern and straight to the point, we celebrate the achievements of the team, and more importantly the achievements and success of our very special CEO, Jo Haigh.
Jo has had, and continues to have, a successful career spanning over 30 years, specialising in corporate finance, board support and director level training. So far in her career, Jo will have met thousands of directors, managers and senior members of businesses, offering board support, advice, training and services. It’s these experiences and knowledge that Jo passes down to the team, which make us understand and offer a better service to our clients. Within the team, we have all inherited aspects of Jo’s working life, priding ourselves on being proactive and our efficiency responding to clients, we pride ourselves on getting the job done and to the highest standard; Monday to Friday, Jo is our inspirational lady.
Of course, there are other inspirational women, in relation to this year’s theme of “be bold for change”, I don’t think anything struck a chord with me as much recently as seeing the women marching for their rights across the globe on 21/22 January. The sheer number of campaigners and supporters was inspiring, even more so that families rallied together, husbands and children, all supporting the campaign. I remember vividly seeing an image in the media of an elderly lady, with a board that said “I campaigned for this s*** years ago” … and its true, we have been there, and done that, so why are women still campaigning for equal rights? It’s crazy to think of all the women powerhouses, successes and even our own lady Prime minister, that basic women’s rights and acknowledgements are still being challenged.
Fortunately, most men, excusing Trump it appears, are backing women, especially women in business, in the past six months our very own Jo Haigh has joined the board of three successful companies, all owned by a man, with a predominately male workforce. Surely, this is a step in the right direction? I recently uncovered a blog Richard Branson from 2012 about women on the board, even back then he referenced how although research has shown senior level women do bring higher success to companies it still isn’t rolled out in major organisations, “take a look at who's sitting around your boardroom table. If you see 12 angry men, it's time to write a new script!” – a great piece of advice from Richard, something of which Jo agrees strongly with.
So, at present I feel issues around the world are conflicting somewhat with the success of women in business, it is crucial that examples are set and voices are heard, and that’s why it is so important that this year’s theme “be bold for change” is actioned on. We need to ensure that the futures of younger generations are free of issues we are experiencing to date and that by putting on a united front we challenge the opinions of those with outdated views.
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