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In honour of International Women's Day our CEO Hannah Donaldson joined a panel of inspirational women at WIR's event earlier this week! Here are the key messages from the session:
#BalanceforBetter - the theme of International Women’s Day 2019 - is all about building a gender-balanced world. According to IWD this years theme was chosen because balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue - essential for any business to thrive. To mark the occasion Women in Recruitment held a panel debate to discuss how we can #BalanceforBetter within the recruitment industry.
The panel featuring our CEO, Hannah Donaldson, was chaired by Natasha Clark and included Janine Chidlow, Yvette Cleland and Jenine Ward. Together these inspirational women discussed gender balance in business, the perception of female leaders and how we can all drive change.
The event started with a one-on-one interview with Janine Chidlow. Janine is a huge advocate for women supporting women in the workplace, she believes that's key to achieving more balance in business. Her message is that as a minority, it's women's responsibility to support and help each other in the workplace, by having that network of support we can collectively raise awareness of the issues that are still causing a gender imbalance in business.
Then the panel kicked off the discussion by sharing their top tips for succeeding in the recruitment sphere. An industry that is made up of 53% women but still has very few women in director level positions. How can we create a better balance? From working with a mentor to having the stamina and resilience to get through the difficult days, the panel had a wealth of experience and advice to offer the audience.
Interestingly all of the women talked about confidence; whether that was having a natural confidence or proactively working to build up their confidence. A lack of confidence and doubt are symptoms of the common phenomenon imposter syndrome, something that our CEO Hannah Donaldson talks openly about battling with. The panel all agreed that over coming this and finding confidence in what you’re doing is one of the toughest skills you can learn in business but doing so is the key to reaching your potential, whatever your gender.
Jenine Ward advised taking a step back and looking at your job specification as a way of reminding yourself of everything that you can do. Echoing that, Hannah suggested asking yourself the question, ‘why am I the right person to do the job?’ - because you have to believe it yourself before anyone else does.
Another really key theme of the session was authenticity and being your authentic self in the workplace. The women discussed how difficult it can be to do this, not just for women but everyone. But, authenticity is key to having a greater diversity in senior level positions. Janine Chidlow used silence as an example; she use to feel the need to speak up in a meeting just to feel present, but she now uses the power of silence. Her advice: get comfortable with silence, don’t say something just to say something but wait until you’ve got a point, then your voice becomes much more powerful.
It takes bravery to be authentic and confidence to #BalanceforBetter but these inspirational women are evidence of just how that’s done.