Eight insights for global managers from International Women’s Day 2020

Relocate Global’s Think Women event at the Institute of Directors on 6 March was an energising celebration of this year’s IWD theme #EachforEqual. This is what we found out.

Photo from IWD2020
Global Mobility’s biggest International Women’s Day gathering welcomed a record number of guests.They discussed what Each for Equal means to them and heard first-hand from our pioneering key speakers: Ann Ellis, co-founder of global business solutions provider Mauve and event sponsor; Carrie Clarke, aviator; Teresa Boughey, HR expert, author and government policy advisor; and consultant Professor Vlatka Hlupic.We’ve combined their collective wisdom into the following overview of how every one of us can help progress the #EachforEqual agenda.

1. Increase the inclusion and diversity of our celebrations – take the International Women’s Day message to a wider audience

Involving more people, including men, can increase awareness around and the impact of IWD conversations. “We have to take the message away from the converted,” says researcher, women and young people’s advocate and campaigner, Winehin Jemide. “More men also have to listen to what we’re saying and commit to something.”“It’s about widening that conversation, and about sharing our experience and educating others,” says HR consultant Teresa Boughey. “We absolutely do need to get more ambassadors and allies to come to the table and also have a voice. We need to learn from them as much as we need to educate each other.”

2. Confront uncomfortable truths and be honest

The UK’s largest companies are required by law to calculate and publicly file their gender pay gaps. Teresa Boughey – who has a personal mission to help 10,000 UK firms to close the gap – believes many companies will find this year’s data to be a challenging reality.“Year 3 and beyond is going to start to show a much more ugly truth for organisations if they haven’t made any changes. To fix this, we almost have to go backwards in order to make some change. The key is to not be disillusioned, to keep going. “It is about breaking with tradition. Policies and practices might have been right at a particular time.“But gender, ethnicity and disability pay gap reporting give organisations a real opportunity to ask are they right for now? Are they reflective of our customers? Are they reflective of the environment we operate? If the answer to is ‘no’, that is a great indicator to start doing something different. It is about making those small changes.”

 3. Take risks and believe in yourself

Each speaker at the Think Women International Women’s Day celebration is a pioneer in her own right. Yet they shared a common message: believe in yourself and to take a gamble.Ann Ellis, co-founder of Mauve, a global business solutions provider with a presence in more than 70 countries and a reach into over 150, started her entrepreneurial journey with a road-trip from Italy to Hungary. “I think it is so important that people take the risks even though you don’t know the outcome. It’s so important not to be afraid but to put yourself forward.” Guest Rula Costa-Rising, responsible for business development and sales at Santa Fe Relocation, agrees. “Sometimes you find yourself hitting a wall. But you need to open the doors yourself. People aren’t going to do it for you. No one is going to say ‘come and do this job’. You need to be in charge of your own destiny.”“Talking as someone who has overcome obstacles, my message to other people is to not be afraid,” adds Anna Fletcher of Heart Relocation. “Having my own company, I have to look after so many things that I didn’t have to before. It’s made me appreciate how much effort goes into this. I’d like to give the same opportunity to others – men and women.”

4. Recognise that age is no barrier to success

“Age doesn’t come into it,” believes Rula Costa-Rising. “At any age you need to not be afraid to change and try new things. “People say you grow into yourself. Never be scared to be afraid to take steps at any age. Always go for your dreams. Everything is achievable. Just go for it and take that step. Listening to these women today highlights this and shows everybody can take steps in their lives.” 

5. Role model, inspire and show the way for others

“See it, be it” is a highly relevant mantra, especially for the upcoming generations and in sectors where female presence is low. Speaker Carrie Clarke, a trainee aviator and role model, is keenly aware of the impact she can have other women looking to break into a male-dominated sector. She talks to young people in schools and also seeks role models as she progresses her career. “Role modelling is huge. You look up to them and their presence enables you to see what is possible,” says Carrie. “It’s so easy to say ‘you can achieve anything’. But knowing someone personally who has, makes all the difference. I also reach out on Instagram to try and get advice. There is a great community there of pilots who can advise on the many crucial decisions you have to make during training. If they’ve at least shared their story, you can at least take tips from that.“You need to see someone who has done this before you and who you can relate to. The more people who do it, the easier it is for people to find a role model they can learn from.”

6. Find and celebrate the brilliance in everyone

International Women’s Day is as much about inclusion and intersectionality, as it is female empowerment. “Inclusion is the coming together of many,” says Teresa Boughey. “Everybody plays their part and we all step forward together. “When that happens, there is movement and momentum. It’s about making sure inclusion isn’t exclusive. Exclusive inclusion means actually by default you are alienating a significant part of an organisation. We need to move beyond that.

7. Understand the importance of the IWD message for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Technology and changing demographics are changing the rules for business and individuals, creating opportunities for women and the Each for Equal message.“The fourth industrial revolution and technology are changing the way we work and live, shop and organise our work life and personal lives,” says speaker Professor Vlatka Hlupic. “At the same time, we need to unleash our humanity and create a better world, which is safer and cleaner.”“The ideal scenario is creating more flexibility. With technology we can have more flexible work. We can all develop portfolio careers so it gives us more choices. We work on our own terms when it suits us so we can all juggle children and family, which is also important. “But I think more and more in the future we will be seeing more of these trends, more flexibility, agility and also a portfolio of skills – rather than just specialise in one particular area. We can grow in different areas with the growth mindset.”

8. Collaborate, network and support others

Relocate Global’s Think Women community and others like it are a crucial aspect of enabling women’s empowerment.“Having a tribe and having that voice is really important,” says Teresa Boughey. ““We’ve all got a story about something that’s slightly holding us back. And everyone one of us can also pull somebody forward. “It’s absolutely vital to widen the dialogue and get people involved and recognising what’s in it for them. Sometimes resistance is a fear factor. It’s a bit of an unknown, but actually it’s about the richness that we are all going to gain as a result from it.“It is that gift of what it is you are going to do today to inspire someone else.”
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