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International Women's Day 2022 // Female Leadership Panel:
International Women's Day 2022 at Raconteur:
March 8th marks the annual international women’s day celebrations, to commemorate women’s achievements within both the workplace but also everyday life. It’s a celebration, but we also host this day to raise awareness against bias and to take action for equality. This year’s theme is ‘break the bias’, and whether this bias is experienced in the gender pay gap, the glass ceiling or everyday sexism, women still face unequal challenges and barriers everyday.
This year, to celebrate women in business, but to also shine a light on some of the challenges women still face within the corporate world, we hosted a panel discussion featuring some fantastic female business leaders.
The four female business leaders included: Dr. Joanna Abeyie MBE, trustee and director of Media Society. Abbie Miranda, Founder and CEO of Beija London. Romina Savova, CEO of PensionBee and Kelly Simmons OBE, Director of the women’s professional game, the FA.
In the panel we listened to the inspiring female leaders discuss their own experiences in their rise to success, but also the challenges they have personally faced within the corporate world. Such as juggling parenthood with running a business and the barriers and bias’s they have experienced on their journey.
Dr Joanna Abeyie for example shared one comment she received from a male counterpart, “You’re not like a typical female entrepreneur; you take risks like male entrepreneurs do’. Showing that the unconscious bias regarding male and female leaders still exist and that founding a business and taking the necessary risks are seen to be inherently ‘male’.
In response to this, Abbie Miranda, founder and CEO of luxury lingerie brand Beija stated that she believes women are uniquely suited to running a business. “Women can multitask, we’re leaders and explorers and we’re brave,” - “We’re perfectly suited for founder life.”
Despite many improvements being made over the years, it’s clear that sexism and gender biases still exist today.
Over 8.2 million UK employees report they’ve been discriminated against on the grounds of their gender.
At least 35% of UK employees have faced some form of sexism in the last two years
All 4 of the women within our panel had experienced some form of bias or inequality in their corporate journey and have been playing a big part in trying to diminish these biases and motivate female employees with their stories.
Simmons, Director of the FA, explained to us how confronting this culture has been the biggest challenge. One of her favorite anecdotes came from a recent women’s football match. A questionable offside decision was given by the referee and a man sitting next to her in the crowd turned to her and proceeded to explain the ruling. “He later asked if I was there to watch my daughter,” Simmons added, “To which I said: ‘No, I’m the director of the women’s professional game.’ At that point they shut up very quickly.”
All four of the women had similar stories to tell, which highlighted to us that we are nowhere near where we need to be in regards to gender equality and that there are still gender biases instilled in the workplace and in expectations of us as women.
The panel was extremely inspiring and motivational to all of us at Raconteur and not only provided us with an insight into the world of female leadership, but also educated us on useful tips such as; How to secure investment, how to pick the right partner and how to fight off ‘imposter syndrome’.
We want to say a huge thank you to all of the inspiring female leaders within our panel discussion, and to our own Francesca Cassidy for hosting this incredible panel.