International Women’s Day is a day which commemorates the struggle for women’s rights and encourages all to join together and acknowledge the extraordinary accomplishments of women in shaping history worldwide.
To celebrate, we asked Net.Works. members and female business founders Kathryn and Sara from Reece Thomas Watson, a law firm dedicated to human rights, Jess from Jessie McDonald, an interior design firm, and Sarah from Like-A-French, a business that provides a language learning service, about their thoughts on the day and what advice they have to charter a way in business.
Kathryn and Sarah, both solicitors who run a law firm dedicated to human rights and assisting those vulnerable in society explained how the day gives all women an opportunity to connect with other women, to be inspired by other women’s achievements and celebrate. They also agreed on others beliefs in equality for both women and men.
“Whilst there are so many more women in prominent positions in jobs, we cannot be complacent as there is still a long way to go,” they said. “Within our profession women are still under represented as Partners of Firms, QC’s or in the Judiciary… The glass ceiling can be shattered but we need both the support of females and men in the profession. We need to foster a culture of mentoring, leadership and ensuring the retention of talented female professionals despite domestic pressures.”
Jessie, founder of the interior design practise Jessie McDonald, although not directly affected by gender inequality due to the nature of her industry, acknowledges that society still has a long way to go in accordance with women’s rights. “It is important to talk about and celebrate the achievement of women, and to continue the pursuit of equality for women in all areas of home, economic, political and work life.”
Sarah from Like-A-French echoes this, chiming in with the importance of the day in order to “celebrate and reward all successful women for how they manage to achieve their dreams and careers, but to also denounce the inequality that still remains between both men and women, especially regarding the salary differences in work.”
Top tips for starting your own business
When asked what advice they would pass on to other women looking to start their own businesses, we received a variety of responses. Here are some of the best:
“Be fearless, believe in yourself and you can achieve what you set your mind to. It will be hard work but ultimately it will be worth it. Women often hold themselves back by self imposed barriers and question their own abilities. Do not be afraid to balance your family life with work. Women also have great interpersonal skills, empowering others and balancing every aspect of your life. This will serve you well in your own business.”
‘’Running a business is a balancing act; sometimes all the plates are in motion, other times it goes less smoothly. Starting a business can be all consuming at times, so you need to ensure you have some time for you and your loved ones. Keeping healthy, exercising and making time for some social life really helps to keep perspective. If you focus on what you want to achieve and work hard, you will get there in the end.
“Don’t go at it alone. We need an important work network, but we also need a strong support network. Don’t be afraid to share ideas or problems with other entrepreneurs, even if they don’t work in the same industry as you…And finally, be proud of yourself. Creating and developing a business is a path that not everyone is able to follow.”
With a long stretch to go just yet, we believe women like the ones above are paving the way for a more equal and diverse working landscape in the future.