Lately, I have had a suffocating feeling of wondering if all the effort of trying to impact a change in the workplace has any effect at all. This week’s announcement of Paula Nickolds being appointed as the new Managing Director for John Lewis gave me that glimpse of reassurance I needed.
I can’t stress enough the importance of talking about the existing gender pay gap and the in-balance of women on boards but it warms my heart when I read about success stories – people achieving their goals, their dreams, sharing best practices and creating mentoring partnerships that have helped take people to new levels.
I have been lucky to have strong women around me, both in and outside of work, who have been my saviour and more importantly provided me with the mindset that I can do anything and be who I want to be.
Women’s right to education and equal pay is a passion that has been part of my family since 1901 when my great-grandmother wrote in her diary that the pastor from their local church advised she no longer needed an education as she was now married. My great grandmother, Johanna Mathilda Johansson, replied: “who knows what the future brings. If I become a widow I need to be able to look after myself.”
People talk about role models, finding similarities in others, being able to identify themselves with someone and in all of that I think the key is for women to see other women in all types of job roles, at all levels within organisations and showing that whatever it is that you want to do can be achieved.
I was fortunate enough to join the committee of Women in PR earlier this year, an organisation whose main aim is to inspire women to reach their full potential.
I have been lucky to work and associate myself with women who believe that the way forward is to support each other and lift each other. Unfortunately, there are equally just as many stories around about women not supporting each other. What I like about Women in PR is that they regularly present outstanding, intelligent and inspirational women within the PR industry via monthly networking events through their extensive network of all round brilliant women.
Speakers have included BBC Broadcaster and journalist, Emma Barnett and Co-Founder and CEO of The Pool, Sam Baker with Founder and CEO of Inspirational Journey, Heather Jackson and Chairwoman of MediaCom, Karen Blackett OBE in the pipeline for future talks and presentations.
There is no getting away from the fact that more best practices need to be shared, more mentoring schemes need to be formed, more reality checks of the current market need to be shouted from the rooftops but more importantly in all of this, let’s never forget the importance of celebrating successes and sharing example of why girls today can grow up in an environment where they know they can do whatever they set their mind to.