In celebration of International Women’s Day, we asked a few of our female colleagues, across various teams in Gemserv, to describe what International Women’s Day and Each for Equal means to them.
Here are just some of their thoughts.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day is a time to commemorate and celebrate the achievements of women, both past and present. Senior Analyst Lorna Clark sums it up perfectly: ‘To me, International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to focus on, acknowledge and reiterate the strength of women and our achievements’.
However, there’s a great consistency that International Women’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on and scrutinise the inequalities which still exist. Aparna Murali, Information Security Consultant, reminds us that by recognising women in the workplace, we are ‘making sure we all have the same opportunities across the board’. After all, as Laura Delargy, Assurance Analyst reminds us, ‘It’s a day to highlight how incredibly far we’ve come and how important we are in any role, but it is also a reminder of how much is yet to be done!’.
For Cordelia Grey, Energy Practice Consultant, it’s also an opportunity to reflect on intersectional feminism. She told us ‘International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements but it’s also the perfect opportunity to continue raising awareness around the need for gender equality across the world. I think encouraging and celebrating diversity has improved a lot in the last few years, especially around LGBTQ rights, but there is still a long way to go’. Part of the progress we want to make relies on this celebration of diversity; Eve Marriner, Key Accounts Governance Consultant, reminds us that by being ‘inspired by the successes achieved by so many women in all areas’ we can truly celebrate ‘the increasing range of opportunities we now have access to’.
How do you believe Gemserv provides an equal and inclusive workplace?
For many working women, our professional lives are a vital component of our experiences with inequality. We were keen to understand opinions surrounding working culture at Gemserv, especially considering the traditional male-dominated field in which we work. This is something Aparna acknowledged, telling us that ‘the team I work with is equally balanced, which is a testimony to Gemserv’s inclusivity, prioritising equal opportunity’. Lorna also agreed that her opinion that Gemserv provides equal opportunities to all has been shaped by her own ‘very positive’ experiences.
There was agreement that Gemserv stands out for its understanding of the need for flexibility. For Laura, her decision to start a family was not only welcomed but celebrated by Gemserv, which is a hugely important factor for many women.
For Cordelia, Gemserv’s promotion of flexible working is not only important to existing employees, but can be linked to our recruitment of some of the best talent. Specifically, she identified the introduction of internal unconscious bias training as a ‘positive change’ in this process and one which encourages Gemserv’s gender balance.
What would you like to see more of in terms of women’s rights in the workplace and society in general?
It’s wonderful to have such positive feedback from our colleagues, but it’s even more important to understand how much further there is to go. For many, this is as simple as being heard. Laura mentioned the importance of being heard and valued ‘regardless of role or rank’, as well as regardless of gender.
Let’s focus on this word: rank. Eve emphasised the need for ‘more women to be employed in positions of greater responsibility’, and it’s completely true. The 2020 goal for the FTSE 100 is to increase this from 5% to 33%, but this is still miles away from true gender balance.
At Gemserv, we are in the fortunate position of being surrounding by female leaders, but it would be naïve to ignore the pitfalls of our own industries. Aparna’s solution is simple – by ‘empowering the next generation and engaging girls in topics such as information security’, the typically male dominated area in which she works, we can give more females access to this field.
If businesses want to attract the best talent, ‘then they have a duty to listen to their current employees and make positive changes’, says Cordelia. Women’s rights in the workplace aren’t limited to hiring, but the quality of professional life which follows. As our colleagues mentioned earlier, this might take the shape of maternity leave, flexible working, and additional benefits. For Eve, this relies on dialogue: ‘companies should ask their staff what is important and respond accordingly’.
So, what would equality look like for you?
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