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I work for an organisation founded by 3 men – how do I feel about that?

​So here I am nearing International Women’s Day, with over 30 years recruitment experience under my belt, working for an organisation founded by 3 men – how do I feel about that?

I have been asked the question so many times; “Why didn’t you start your own agency?”. The answer is very simple, I didn’t want to. Not every intelligent, successful female wants to run their own business (although I do have a very nice side-hustle as a fitness trainer and menopause coach!), in the same way that not every man wants too either.

I know that my value comes from affecting a business from the inside and upwards. My skills lie in being very honest about what I, as a female, can do for a business and over the years I have also learned to ask for what I need to be successful – it is all a learning curve, and there is never a nirvana!

With International Women’s Day fast approaching I am seeing posts about the fact that very little has changed - the gender pay gap is still as wide as ever, maternity leave creates a massive hole in pension pots and that the menopause is a very real thing that men have no understanding about, and it can impact work and relationships very deeply in a negative way.

On this day, rather than waiting for people to pat us on the back and tell us how good we are at our jobs (something we all intrinsically know anyway), we need to collectively speak up and start conversations about effecting change. This day gives us a platform to be visible, to be heard and to be honest.

Let’s use it, positively, and wisely.

All of the recruitment consultancies I have worked for have been founded by and primarily run by men. A few ballsy women have made their way and found a seat at the table, but if I am honest, although they were good at their jobs, they had to display the attributes of being a man and frequently hide their emotional side to get there – but that was 10 years ago.

Things have changed. And although we still have a way to go, we need to look at all the positive steps that have been taken to date. More organisations are taking the menopause seriously, and listening to how they can support women at this time in their life. There has been a shift in the gender pay gap, it just needs to shift some more.

If we don’t use our voice and speak out how will anyone know what we want and what we need – mind reading is not a common trait!

I am lucky perhaps, in that I work for an organisation that truly holds ED&I at the centre of the business. The women in the business are visible, respected and heard. But that is the point, we are only heard if we speak up!

I get that some of the angst is because people have spoken up, and the status quo hasn’t shifted enough – let’s just take more positive action.

·Let’s talk about legislation that means that every job advertised has to have a salary on it

·Let’s stop asking women (and men for that matter!)what your current salary is, and then just topping up that salary with a few thousand pounds, rather than paying what it is worth to do that job

·Let’s engage with HR, so that paternity leave is available to allow fathers to have time to bond with their child, and not place such a rush on either parent to get back to work, allowing for the caring of the child to be shared

·Women make incredible leaders, and we don’t always have to be at the top of the tree to have an impact. Lets’ voice what we can do, and find sponsors to elevate females into positions that will allow us to influence business decisions.

·And let’s keep talking about the M word – yes Menopause! Everyone has a mother, some of you will have daughters – the menopause will affect your life whether you are aware of it or not. Being supportive takes just a little education.

On this day, don’t have angst – have passion. A passion for being female and owning all the quirks and wonderous traits we were born with, and then use them in the best way you can to affect a little bit of change. Mention the menopause where you wouldn’t normally, ask a father how he felt about paternity leave. Start small, think big and change will come.