International Women's Day 2024

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of Women around the world. Today we celebrate their accomplishments without distinctions based on nationality, ethnicity, language, culture, economy, or politics.

In honour of International Women’s Day, we're taking the opportunity to connect with several of our female colleagues, gaining insight into their diverse backgrounds and experiences both within and beyond the workplace!

Gender equality is more than just a concern for women, to translate discussion into change, it is essential to engage everyone in on the conversation.

“International Women's Day is a platform for promoting positive change and addressing the challenges and inequalities that women may face.” – Paul Doherty, BTTG® Leeds Laboratory Manager

Men have a crucial role to play in dismantling gender stereotypes and advocating for gender parity in various ways, including the workplace, politics, and personal relationships. Recognizing and honouring the achievements and contributions of women helps foster solidarity and understanding among all genders, ultimately promoting a equitable society for everyone

931681c3 d90e 461b 8b76 e985f686176b Arpita Kothari, Technical Administrative Office (TAO) joined us almost 7 years ago. Starting as the first TAO in India. Arpita stays inspired outside of the workplace by spending quality time with her friends and family and is a mother to her baby girl. “Travelling is my best therapy but having a small child limits me so I try to go out as much as possible when I get time.”  An Ohio State University study found that 68% of women with children were burnt out vs. 42% of men. While carving out time for self-care as a new parent may pose challenges, it is absolutely essential. Arpita continues “In my spare time I like to listen to my favourite music and podcasts”.

Speaking on International Women’s Day Arpita says “I believe women have always played a significant role in every aspect of life: whether it is social, economic, political, or cultural. And this day gives us a chance to recognize their achievements in each field.”  When asked how International Women’s Day is celebrated in India she answered, “There are many ways we celebrate, but specifically in offices, women are treated special, and they are offered special meals in restaurants and given discount coupons for luxury brands”.

Arpita continues “It’s important to have awareness and focus on issues like gender equality, women’s rights and abuse in day-to-day life”.In a recent article, Fairtrade revealed that although the fashion industry is a 1.53 trillion-dollar industry, the people who make our clothes – 80% women – live in poverty.

“Celebration of women’s achievements will spread the message to create a bias free society, and everyone can play their part.”

Women have long been the backbone of the textile industry, yet they are continuously overlooked. The next time you are shopping for clothing, home textiles and accessories, make sure to ask yourself, who made my clothes? and always check for sustainability claims!

47b4aeb9 28ba 4584 91c6 4f627275d89dWe asked Ruby Webb what her proudest achievement has been since working here and she answered, “Being promoted from Laboratory Assistant to Laboratory Technician", Ruby is a keen baker in her spare time and says, “I am inspired by women like Mary Berry who paved the way for female bakers/chefs on television to be respected and fairly compensated.” In typically male dominated roles, it is crucial to ensure visibility for women to ensure their work is equally valued alongside that of men. Ruby continues “Nadiya Hussain has made immense progress in terms of representing and empowering all bakers, but especially women of colour.”  Historically and presently depictions of minority groups have created or reinforced harmful stereotypes. Effective representation of minority groups offers a wide range of narratives from diverse backgrounds and empower those being represented.

When asked about how to navigate being the only women in a male-dominated environment Ruby said, “My male colleagues in the lab have been very welcoming and helpful, so I do not feel I have to navigate it especially, I am simply a member of the team.” Holding her own as a woman is something Ruby is extremely proud of and accounts it as one of her proudest achievements. “I am quite used to studying and working in male-dominated environments, as there are far too few women in STEM courses and roles.” A 2021/2022 study claims the percentage of women in STEM is just 27%.

997d4aa5 ac1d 4dbd 9306 24d29c374a01Jenny Wilson, Principal Certification Officer, has been with us since 2012. Outside of work Jenny enjoys “Reading, jigsaws and going on walks.” “I like Indie/alternative music and going to gigs when I can.” When asked about International Women’s Day Jenny spotlights the importance of equality for both women and people living with disabilities and health conditions, “Being able to work flexible hours and/or working remotely is something that can benefit everyone, but especially women and disabled people who are more likely to have care responsibilities, health treatments at specific times of the day, or accessibility needs.” During Jenny’s impressive 12 years with us she says her proudest achievement has been “Becoming Principal Certification Officer as recognition of the work I’ve put in and representing the company at UK & European Certification meetings when able to”.

This year Jenny has a season ticket to watch Liverpool FC Women. We love women supporting women! There has been a significant surge in women's football in recent years. However, according to FutureLearn, nearly 60% of total spending on transfers in 2021 came from the five largest transfers, and only 4.4% of professional transfers actually involved payment of a fee.

When young girls are provided with equal opportunities to develop their skills from an early age, we cultivate leaders who can effectively guide both men's and women's teams, on and off the pitch.

f16d358a e06f 4e1b 9c5a 147981ffca7aLastly, we spoke with Amy Mok, Overseas Administrator. Amy has been with us for 4 and a half years now and attributes organizing overseas staff training as her proudest moment. “We had 13 overseas staff coming over to the UK to attend training, the largest group we have ever had.” Every year, we conduct training sessions for our international staff, welcoming staff members from India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Singapore. Amy effortlessly handles all aspects of organizing these sessions, from booking flights and accommodations to scheduling timetables, assisting with visa documents, and even deciding on daily lunch options, Amy makes it look easy! “Everything is a team effort from everyone involved.” Outside of work Amy says she’s “motivated by learning new things and being challenged. I like doing volunteer work when time allows to pay back to the community. I’m blessed to be able to give than to receive.” Volunteer work not only improves the lives of others but also enriches the lives of volunteers themselves, creating a ripple effect of positivity and goodwill that extends far beyond the immediate impact.

When asked who inspires her the most Amy replied, “my mum. I am inspired by her energy, enthusiasm in life, and her wisdom. She perseveres and remains positive no matter what difficulties she faced”.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Inspire Inclusion’ what does that mean to you?
“To support all women & young girls to reach their goals, to provide equal opportunities for them in the workplace as well as education, to help them to succeed and flourish”, By nurturing talents and aspirations from a young age, we not only empower individuals, but also contribute to the advancement of communities worldwide, ensuring a future where everyone can thrive regardless of gender.

Here’s to all the strong, talented, and inspiring Women out there making a difference in the world every day.

We would like to extend our gratitude to all the staff members who participated in the interviews for International Women’s Day. Thank you for your valuable insights and perspectives. Let’s carry forward the spirit of International Women’s Day every day and advocate for a more inclusive and equal future for all!

Posted by Haydn Taylor on 8 March 2024