8 March 2017
The final in our International Women’s Day blog series, Liz shares her experience as a mum and a director in the tech industry…
I know what a gender stereotype is – my Dad single-handedly brought up 3 girls under 5 to become strong, caring and successful women, all while holding down a full-time and successful career. People thought it impossible that a man could achieve such a feat on his own without a female role model at home.
I know that even today, certain stereotypes still exist – some people harbour archaic opinions of who should play which roles in society.
But I also know that those stereotypes mean nothing to the people who won’t allow themselves to be defined by them. The people who are busy pushing boundaries, making progress and striving to create the world they want to live in, have no time to dwell on the narrow-minded and limiting beliefs of the minority.
My Dad instilled in me a belief that anyone – regardless of gender – is capable of incredible things. Hard graft, a fire in your belly and respect for others can get anyone, male or female, anywhere.
I’m happy to say that that belief has only been fuelled more since I entered the workplace with role models of both genders proving the point over and over again – passion, support, ambition and energy have no sex.
Am I one of the lucky ones who’s had a sheltered career that’s not exposed me to any workplace inequality? I don’t think so. I’ve been knee-deep in British business for over a decade, as a journalist interviewing some of the most successful entrepreneurs in the country and delving into all industries. Has there ever been a hint of sexism or gender inequality? Probably, but I’ve not stopped long enough for it to have any impact on me in any way. For years as a young journalist I was one of a handful of women at business lunches, networking events and awards dinners, if not the only one. It only inspired me to go along to more and to encourage other women to go too. Still to this day I don’t think I’ve ever knowingly attended a women-only event. In my opinion, it defeats the object.
Today, I’m part of the Communications team inside a technology firm – a sector it’s often assumed is dominated by men. Yes, in terms of headcount on the technical support floor, men are the majority and it’s an imbalance the whole team here is trying to tackle, but there is no shortage of inspirational women across the business, standing shoulder to shoulder with other men and women, holding their own in the boardroom and on the shopfloor and I’m confident the whole team appreciates the power of a balanced workforce. I’ve no doubt it’s one of the key factors in our phenomenal growth and expansion.
I’m one of the oldest members of the MarComms team, I’m mum to a two-year old and I have a baby on the way. Does any of that hold me back? Does it ‘eck! In fact, if it wasn’t for the network I’m surrounded by at UKFast I’m not sure I’d be able to keep so many of these plates spinning. No doubt it’s a constant juggling act, but I’m nothing without a challenge.