To celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, we spoke to some of the amazing women who work at Verastar about this year’s theme #BreakTheBias, what the day means to them and what it means to be a woman in the working world.
What does it mean to be a woman and what does International Women’s Day mean to you?
|Emma Hardy – MI Analyst & Reporting Workstream Lead
“To me, being a woman is a privilege in the UK. There are so many other countries around the world that don’t give women a voice and don’t have rights in different countries or any sort of equality. To be a woman in the UK is an absolute honour.
“International Women’s Day to me is a day to give thanks to those previous generations and an appreciation to others who paved the way for women like ourselves to be given the opportunity to have a career. People like Emmeline Pankhurst and the Suffragette movement who fought to give us the right to vote, to those women who worked through the war in the factories all the way to the women of the eighties who had very few legal rights in terms of equality yet powered through their careers with a positivity that has to be admired.
“The reason we have equality in the workplace and have the opportunity to go for roles in our career is all thanks to these women.”
|Courtney Reid – Business Graduate
“Being a woman means to be strong and confident! Embrace exactly who you are and being outgoing and powerful within yourself. It’s also about being beautiful and true to yourself – both inside and out!
“Even though it’s something we should do every day, International Women’s Day gives us the opportunity to recognise strong and powerful women within our society. It’s a day not only about celebrating those before us, but our mums, grandparents, aunties, friends, colleagues and everyone around us.”
Do you have any advice for women starting a career in your field?
|Kelly Woodhouse – Software Business Analyst
“As a woman in tech, we are massively outnumbered. It’s not historically a field that women have fallen into. My advice is to simply learn as much as you can, there’s always something to learn and you can always be developing. By doing this you earn the respect of your peers and colleagues.
“Don’t ever be afraid to speak up and be assertive, justify yourself with the knowledge you know and learn and always make your voice heard, not only in the workplace but in life as a whole. If you can, find a good mentor and take advantage of working collaboratively as a team.”
Tell me about a woman who has positively impacted you, and why?
|Megan Cowen – Business Graduate
“Jessica Ennis Hill. I used to do athletics when I was younger, and she used to train at the same centre as me. I remember seeing her when I was warming up once and was just completely starstruck! She came and gave a speech to us all about motivation and persistence, for me she isn’t just a role model for women but also for black, ethnic and minority communities with her success and persistence within her field.”
Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
|Huma Ahmed – Senior Social Media, PR & Content Executive
“In my opinion, diversity increases employee productivity and engagement. When I see a company with a diverse workforce, I’m much more inclined to engage and apply for these job roles, which is one of the fundamental reasons I applied to work at Verastar. It makes me feel included and confident that the business has my best interests at heart.”
|Laura Barnes – Project Manager
“It’s all about inclusion and is something that should be celebrated. I’m in a male-dominated field working in tech, women in my role are one in ten! So why would we not want to embrace this change and this growth of women in tech? Having people of diverse backgrounds, not only gender, provides us with new and innovative ways of tackling problems within the workplace.”
What can men or others do to help achieve equality within the workplace?
|Emily Yates – Telesales Advisor Manager
“Just be open and accept the fact that we as women are becoming more involved and taking more of a stand within the workplace and really embracing the values and opportunities they bring to the table. Being welcoming and optimistic about the teams goes for all genders, and I think it’s up to everyone to embrace and really get stuck in with women in the workforce as we’re here and there’s definitely no stopping what we can achieve within our careers.”
Tell me about being a woman in our senior leadership team
|Holly Mack – Director of Telecomms
“I started with Verastar thirteen years ago on the graduate scheme we have so I have been given the opportunity to grow and develop all of my career within Verastar and part of the reason I have been able to achieve where I am today is because of the support the business has offered me. I am honestly so happy to say that I have been uplifted and supported all throughout my career and never once felt as though my gender has hindered my opportunities. I have constantly been invested in from both an experience and development perspective and also I’m fortunate to be supported in working a four-day week, as I’m also a mother of two young children, and Verastar have been supporting in enabling me to balance my career and my job of being a mum.”
Do you have any advice for women starting a career or looking to go for those senior positions?
|Georgina Lord – Chief Customer Officer
“Everyone has a personal life, and everyone lives differently. One piece of advice I always give is that your career path is up to you. It shouldn’t be hindered by your gender, race, religion, sexuality or anything else. There will be people and mentors there to guide and support you, but no one can tell you how to think or how to live your life, so who’s really stopping you from going for those bigger roles? It all starts with yourself.”