Today marks Women’s Equality Day, a day to commemorate the signing of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted women in the US with the right to vote in 1920.
Official observations began in the early 70s and have widely been regarded around the world as a celebration of women’s progress towards equality.
We are proud to say that Active Profile is a female-led business. Our senior management team is headed up by women, each an expert in their field.
So today on Women’s Equality Day, we caught up with Nicky and Natalie to hear their views on gender equality, asserting your authority and what they think the future holds for women in business. Here’s what they had to say:
Nicky Hughes, Director of PR, says:
Public relations to me is quite a balanced industry and although the majority of my career has been spent in female-led businesses, it feels like there has always been a fairly good gender balance across the board. It wasn’t until I started working within the property sector that I noticed a change in the playing field.
The property sector is renowned for being male dominated and that’s something that really came across when I first focused my career on property PR. It was probably most noticeable when attending events and conferences, when it often felt like you were the only woman in the room, but that was 15 years ago. Since then, I believe there has been a shift towards equality: not to the level I’d like to see, but there has certainly been progress.
Nowadays there are a lot more women in property, and a lot more women occupying senior roles, which is really great to see. However, I still don’t think the share of voice is where it should be, and that’s something we are very passionate about and continue to push as a PR team at Active Profile. We want to help close that inequality gap for women in property, making sure female candidates are selected for panels and interviews to offer diversity, but also for the right reasons and not just as a tick-box.
I chaired the Liverpool Forum for the Built Environment (FBE) for a full three-year term and that was a really proud time for me to be chosen for my authority, leadership skills and expertise. But I believe that unfortunately, this is something women have to work harder to gain within certain sectors.
I would like to think that the landscape is changing for women in property now and that if we continue to work hard and showcase great women working in the sector, the ground will become more equal as the new generation of female workers filter through.
In the property sector, probably the majority of my peers are male, but I believe that I am in a position where I can advise my clients, contacts and friends knowing they respect my opinions and take on my advice – and that’s something everybody wants, regardless of your gender.
Natalie Fox, Director of Marketing, says:
In the earlier stages of my career, there was a feeling that I might not be taken as seriously when I entered the boardroom to pitch for a client. This of course could have been down to age, but I definitely think that as a woman, I really had to prove myself when asserting my authority.
However, I don’t think this would be the case now. I still think there is a bit of a ‘boys’ club’ mentality in certain circles, but also think this will change as new people come through. It already has in a lot of ways: take the tech sector, for example. There are so many initiatives for women and young girls to choose careers in tech, and a lot more women coming into organisations at C-level status. And that’s a really promising sign for the future because more female leaders will drive that progression to result in the positive changes we need to see.
One thing I would say is that there needs to be more support for women in professional services, because at the moment glass ceilings do exist for those who want to have a family and also continue to climb up further on the career ladder. But this comes down to organisational education and removing unconscious biases at management level.
On a personal level, I have loved working in a female-led business throughout my career because I definitely think it provides you with a feeling of empowerment in a lot of situations. However, a business will always work best when the diversity is there to create a tightly woven dynamic on a level playing field, making hiring choices based on merit and not gender.