The theme for international women’s day this year is #ChooseToChallenge, choosing to challenge gender bias and inequality within our professional and social environment as well as celebrating the achievements of incredible women in the world who have had to work that much harder to achieve their goals.
It’s so important to take not only this day but everyday to celebrate the incredible women around us – I choose to celebrate my Mum who came to the UK without knowing a word of English and created the most amazing life for me and my family, my CEO Mel, who everyday fights for equality in the workplace and sits on panels to promote diversity, and business women like Whitney Wolfe Herd who I’m sure we’ve all read about recently as the youngest ever self-made billionaire and who took dating app, Bumble, through to IPO.
It’s these incredible people who make it possible for myself and other women to believe in themselves and have a role model to look up to. I think it’s easy to forget when we celebrate people like Whitney Wolfe Herd, how difficult it actually is for women to become successful through their own business ventures.
Only 28% of all Start-Ups have a woman founder and last year only 3% of all VC investments were given to all-women founding teams. There’s evidently a very long way to go – and it should start with us each individually deciding to make a change.
This is why I’m so inspired by this year’s theme of #ChooseToChallenge, because ultimately the responsibility to change perceptions and rise to our potential rests with us all, to make even the smallest decisions in our daily lives to fight stereotypes and question decisions we make.
It’s a mantra I live by as a sales recruiter where I’m expected to make judgment calls on profiles, job applications and CVs to make sure I check my choices and that they're not based on preconceptions or stereotypes. The sales industry within tech is traditionally notoriously male heavy, promoting what we would consider male personality traits of dominance and aggression which previously made it difficult for women to really leave a footprint. This is changing however, and my incredible company is distantly removed from the typical “boiler room” recruitment environment. Being spear headed by a respected, creative and ambitious female founder is undeniably a cause, and it’s always been a priority for the company to hire forward thinking individuals who don’t look to get ahead by throwing others under the bus, but who thrive on team successes.
It was my Head of Marketing, Ben, who pushed me to write this blog for IWD, because according to him having a simple “Happy International Women’s Day!” LinkedIn post isn’t enough to change minds and challenge the status quo.
I love having such an encouraging team around me at Propel who everyday help me to see my potential and encourage me to be unapologetically myself. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have had such inspiring women alongside me throughout my youth and now in my professional career, that I hope I can offer the same to other women look for the same and will continue to do my part to promote gender equality within all workplaces.