The aim of the IWD 2023 #EmbraceEquity campaign theme is to get the world talking about Why equal opportunities aren’t enough. People start from different places, so true inclusion and belonging require equitable action.
Find out Sarah’s thoughts below!
Why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?
International Women’s Day celebrates how far women’s rights and gender equality have come but there is still such a long way to go. Celebrating women’s achievements, big or small, helps us keep the momentum going towards future changes and makes us remember those that have already done so much to get us where we are today. Yes, there is so much more to be done but we shouldn’t lose sight of all the amazing women who have fought for better rights for women throughout history and this day is dedicated to them.
Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
The main thing for me has been juggling my career with being a mum, which is a full-time job in itself. Wanting to progress for me has often meant having to put my children in morning and after school clubs so I can commit myself to the role. You do feel you are constantly trying to prove yourself and trying not to feel guilty for wanting a career.
Luckily, my role at PLS has awarded me the flexibility to vary my hours and work from home so I can be there for my children’s events like assemblies, parents’ evenings and sports days etc. Women shouldn’t have to choose between having a good career and being a good mum.
What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?
No one expects you to be able to do everything, and to ask for help.
How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?
Offer more flexibility and opportunities to women and get rid of the gender pay gap. Despite all the work done to reduce this, it is still very prevalent in many roles and industries.
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do something or be something. With the right attitude and commitment, you can achieve things.
Is there anyone that inspires you in your career?
I would have to say, my mum. When I was growing up my mum didn’t work. She was the stereotypical stay at home with no real qualifications. However, when I turned 13 she decided she wanted more for herself and so she got a job as a Venepuncturist at our local hospital. I know it took a lot for her to put herself out there and get a job that would require a lot of training, but she did it and worked there for over 20 years.
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Emmeline Pankhurst, Katherine Johnson, Malala Yousafzai. All these women were brave and fought against adversity. They worked hard to not only better their own futures but that of all women. Some of them even risked death or serious harm but they pushed on regardless helping to raise awareness and force positive change for girls and women.