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International Women's Day 2024

Today is International Women's day (8th of March), where we celebrate the social, political, cultural and professional achievements of women. The day also aims to raise awareness for gender equality, in order for us to move towards a gender equal society.

This year's theme is #InspireInclusion, which means to celebrate diversity and empowerment on International Women's Day 2024 and beyond. To honour this yearly occasion, we asked our CEO, Julie Feest, to share her views on what International Women's Day means to her.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

As a female who started working life in the Tech industry and made a conscious decision to leave to use my skills in a more purposeful way, the unfortunate reality was that the sector was no good for a professional woman with two young children. When I worked in sales, I could be working 24 hours in a day or 2, without any knowledge what tomorrow brings, which of course did not support my role as a young mother. This to me is an important aspect of IWD – it enables a focus on some of the challenges that women face in the workplace, from becoming mothers, main carer or coping with the menopause.

Women bring a different set of skills to the workplace, which should be celebrated and represented in all that we do, so that we become role models for young people for their future. Diversity in the workplace is key so that products meet all consumer needs, and creativity & innovation are key strengths for women who can cut through the ‘noise’ and focus on what is important.

So the spotlight is great, but this is also with the realisation that when diversity was predominantly female-focused many years ago, the % of women in professional roles did not grow enough before EDI and a broader definition took over – one person said to me recently, solve each problem first before you move to another challenge!!

I wholly support the EDI work which has a broader definition for us all, but this moment and this week is an important moment to reflect that still much has to be done to improve women leading and being successful in their careers. A spotlight is good, but this should be continued in its focus throughout the entire year.

As a female leader, it is key I play my role not only this week but all year to highlight the successes of women I know, and help young women develop. We must continue to support each other to enable us all to grow, learning never stops!

Who are your female role models / women you look up to?

I admire historical women who made a difference to the world and we should not forget how difficult that must have been in the era in which they were born – people like Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale and of course Ada Lovelace as I always felt a little different even in my younger years focusing my education as a mathematician and on computing. Also women who did an amazing act such as Amelia Hart and of course our wonderful Queen Elizabeth II who gave an incredible number of years of service to the UK. I admire women who have contributed to society more than gained fame as a consequence of their career, as they must have had so many hurdles to overcome.

To find out more about International Women's Day, please click here.

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