Celebrating International Women’s Day at FireAngel

International Women’s Day, celebrated March 8th, is a chance to champion women’s achievement across the world, raise awareness about discrimination and take action to drive gender parity.

To celebrate International Women’s Day 2024, just a few of the incredibly talented women who are part of team FireAngel talk to us about their careers, who inspires them and what advice they would pass on to the younger generation.

International Women’s Day 2024

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
Not just gender but all equality is important. When I think back to my Nan, she was a strong lady that wasn’t allowed to rent or buy a property unless she had a husband. She was expected to go to secretarial school and then leave once she was married and had children.

She never had the opportunities we have now and that wasn’t that long ago. It is important that the future generations are aware of how things used to be and to promote a strong equal platform for everyone. You could argue the fact that as we have an International Women’s Day that we still have further work to do in equality. But we have evolved a lot since my Nan’s day!

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman?
Yes, I come from a technical / manufacturing background and sometimes have been the only lady in the boardroom. Initially I certainly felt as a woman you had to act in an aggressive way to get your opinion heard and was often naturally asked to take notes or get everyone a drink whilst my peers were not asked.

I thought the only option was to be blokeish and sometimes quite rude. But over time, you realise you are not being authentic in doing this. Quickly you learn to be you and celebrate in a positive way being a different sex in the office and having a different viewpoint.

It also turns out I got more respect in being myself and collaborated better with my peers.

How can we encourage more women to pursue senior leadership roles in their career?
It involves working hard and standing strong in your own skin and values to be a leader.

We can encourage and mentor women and be a sounding platform for other women. But you have to really want to be a leader to achieve this goal and ask for support or coaching from leaders that match similar values to yours.

In my experience, those people will want to help you succeed and encourage talented future leaders to get to where they want to go. I also think as a business the days of 9 to 5 are going – if we can offer flexible working arrangements this will also encourage more women to pursue leadership roles.

Do you have any women that inspire you in your life?
Oh, I have so many! Janet Street Porter, Dame Kelly Holmes, Miriam Margolyes, Fearne Cotton, Raynor Winn, Liz Earle, Dr Louise Newson…I could go on.

All very different people, from different fields, and although I don’t know them personally, they have all inspired me by refusing to settle for the way it is and made a career from being themselves whilst often facing diversity. That’s inspiring.

From a personal level, probably my Nan, she was never afraid to stand up for herself in what was called back in the day “a man’s world”.

What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Find something you love that aligns with your own values, be persistent, work hard, ask for support or a mentor and also don’t be afraid to pivot and learn new things and never be afraid of being you.

There are lots of women who will support you and take joy in watching future generations succeed and flourish.

International Women’s Day 2024

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
I think it’s important to acknowledge the achievements we have made as women and how far we have come, thanks to the sacrifices women have made before us.

It’s equally as important to continue highlighting the universal gaps that still exist such as gender equality (in and out of the workplace) and reproductive rights.

Do you have any women that inspire you in your life?
I am lucky enough to have a plethora of women in my life that inspire me, but I think the standout has been my Grandmother. She lived through and embraced so much change in her lifetime (1922 to 2020). Always making sure she encouraged the people around her to reach, achieve and exceed their goals.

Why do you think it’s important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
It’s a day that has been recognised for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by around 1 million people. Today, millions of people across the world celebrate all the achievements – whether social, economic, cultural, personal or political – of women.

It’s more than just a tradition, it’s a chance in the busyness of life to pause, reflect and acknowledge the women working tirelessly to reach equality and make a positive difference.

What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
Trust your gut, be yourself and always do what feels right with you and your values. Don’t ever feel pressured into acting a certain way or following the status quo if it makes you feel uncomfortable. That’s not to say you can’t be pushed out of your comfort zone, but only in a way that’s going to see you grow professionally and personally.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
Because if we only have one set of backgrounds, viewpoints and life experiences guiding future decisions, how can we ensure it’s inclusive and truly representative of society?

Without diversity, workplaces would become static, stuck in their ways. It takes new thinking, differing opinions and varying approaches to push a workplace forwards.

What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Don’t ever let anyone tell you, you can’t achieve because of your gender. Work hard, be true to yourself and don’t be afraid to share your ideas with others. Ask for help, mentoring or coaching in areas you would like to grow in and when the time comes, you can choose to repay back the favour later in your career.

At FireAngel, we’re proud to be an inclusive, supportive workplace for all employees. Find out more of the ways we support our community.