Hello and welcome to my blog! As part of my international women’s day series, I have spoken to several women in business about their experiences and am looking forward to sharing their stories with you!
I have spoken with women in tech, wellness, creative and non-profit sectors about their various career paths and how they have felt as a woman in their field.
Firstly, I asked each woman if they had felt like they had faced adversity in their field due to their gender. While not all had, the majority said that they had experienced discrimination because of their gender, notably Dee Atkins who runs a successful Virtual Assistant business. Dee said that when she worked in the recruitment sector she was frequently mistaken as an admin girl when she was actually the managing director. I think this is probably an experience that may women in management positions can relate to, and I hope that we’re moving to a society where the women in an office aren’t automatically assumed to be the secretaries. Jordan Ashley of Souljourn Yoga (A non-profit which focuses on developing countries) said that she feels that a man would never be asked about his safety when travelling to lesser economically developed countries, which Jordan has found challenging to deal with.
Another thing I was really curious about was their opinion on a man running a company whose main demographic is women. In my mind, the biggest example of this is Philip Green and Topshop (you can read my post on it here) and how he is rather misogynistic and yet makes his money off of young women. Cat Glazzard, from Asgard Scot Jewellery made a particularly insightful comment which I think sums up the main idea. Cat said that the gender of the CEO isn’t the biggest issue, and that if the CEO is in tune with their audience. If they are asking and listening to their customers, then that is the important thing. Charlotte Richard-Quesada from La Fete also agreed with this sentiment, saying that although being in line with your target demographic is advantageous, if a man leading a women-oriented business is open to listening to his consumers and women in general, then there is no reason that he wouldn’t do just as good a job as a female CEO.
I was also keen to learn how people empower women through their businesses. Emma Dechoux from Inspired Learning told me about how she hosts a group for business mums in Sandbach who meet monthly to learn from each other and support each other. Abi Wright from Spabreaks also was keen on the idea of supporting other women in the workplace, Abi does this by making sure to work as a team, and by using her experience to mentor the more junior members of her workplace. Abi said,
“I encourage the women around me to work together, not in competition with one another”
which I think is the most important thing to remember. Dee Atkins’s best friend is her main business ‘competition’, however they work together and help each others businesses grow. If you take one thing away from this post, I hope that it is to remember to support the women around you and not to get caught up in the competition with each other, but instead build each other and help each other to improve.
I’d like to finish this post with some advice from some of woman that I spoke to. I hope that this helps you, and inspires you to get out there and be the best you can be.
Just keep going – Abi Wright
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Rachel Gilbertson
Be strong and fight for what you believe in – Charlotte Ricard-Quesada
You can’t please everyone, but what matters is that you’re standing by your choices – Jordan Ashley
Be yourself – Emma Dechoux
Focus on being the best person you can be – Dee Atkins
If you’d like to support these amazing women, their links and short blurbs are below:
Abi Wright is the founder of Spabreaks.com which is Europe’s leading spa bookings agency with a £25m annual turnover. Abi is an advocate in tech, wellness and accessibility.
Rachel Gilbertson is the founder of Roxiie’s Treasures, a small independent gifting business which sells Liverpool and Crosby themed products.
Charlotte Ricard-Quesada is the founder of La Fete, a bespoke wedding and event planning service which aims to solve problems, create experiences and contribute to the memories of each and every one of her clients.
Jordan Ashley is the founder of Souljourn Yoga, a non-profit which aims to empower women through education and creates opportunities for women in LEDCs to become empowered through yoga, and other workshops.
Emma Dechoux is the founder of Inspired Learning which is a training consultancy who works with organisations to inspire them to achieve results through training and coaching.
Dee Atkins founded her Virtual Assistant business after 14 years in the recruitment industry. Dee was prompted to found her business after some health issues, and is now travelling the world, working with a variety of companies of all sizes.
Cat Glazzard is the founder of Asgard Scotland, a Celtic, viking and norse themed jewellery and accessories shop.
This post does not contain any paid advertisements, affiliate links or gifted products.