International Women’s Day: A Wazoku Interview

// Aleena Rupani // Mar 8, 2023

International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8th every year, with the aim of celebrating women’s achievements and raising awareness of the barriers faced in daily life. It is a day to reflect on the progress made towards gender equality and to promote positive change for women across the globe.

We spoke with four of the brilliant women at Wazoku to get an insight into what IWD means to them, barriers they have faced in their career, their biggest achievements, and advice they would give to their younger selves navigating the world of work.

 

Nicola Pearson, HR Business Partner:

What does international women’s day mean to you?

For me, IWD is a time for celebration. To admire many inspirational women and their great achievements, but also to appreciate the hard work that all women put in to balance everything life throws at them.

What barriers have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

When starting my Graduate Scheme, I was a 21-year-old woman running a retail store. That was the biggest challenge I’ve ever faced. Trying to earn the respect of an experienced work force, while managing them, despite having no management experience was tough!

I found being human and personable was the way to go. Engaging with everyone at the same level quickly broke down barriers and pre-determined perceptions they had of me based on my age and gender.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t be afraid of what people think about you! Making the hard decisions is never easy but doing it in the right way will not alter people’s perception of you.

 

Roselyn Mutongerwa, Innovation Consultant:

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

For me, it's an amazing opportunity to not only celebrate the achievements of Women around the World, but to promote positive change by raising awareness about barriers women face in their everyday lives. As a society, we collectively need to work to improve, and I love IWD because I get to learn about so many inspirational women.

What barriers have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

When I started out, and when I was in education, I wasn't aware of all the possibilities and opportunities I had. I moved to the UK when I was young, and I grew up thinking that, in order to have a 'successful career', you had to be a doctor, or a lawyer, or an accountant. The biggest barrier I faced was simply not having enough knowledge on the options that were out there, and I didn't really have anyone knowledgeable to help guide me. It was a lot of trial and error, but now I understand that there are so many opportunities out there for everyone, no matter what your skillset or background is.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

I'd tell myself that the most important thing I need to focus on is ensuring I have a growth mindset and enjoy the process of continual learning - because learning and education never ends! I'd also tell myself not to be afraid of 'failure' and to stop worrying so much about the future. Life is so dynamic, and things change all the time! It's important to be willing to learn from experience, to be resilient, and to be dynamic - life is more fun that way.

What has been your biggest achievement or name a highlight in your career?

The biggest highlight of my career is being recognized as 100 Future Leaders, for my contributions to driving inclusion in business and supporting women and ethnic minorities to reach their full potential. 

 

Sinéad Plunkett, Director of Quality Assurance:

What does International Women's Day mean to you?

To be perfectly honest, it's not something I think about too much. I think everyone should be supported and celebrated every day, that's how I try to roll!

Don't get me wrong, the older I get, the more I am in awe of how amazing women really are and, as the Mum to a boy and a girl, I'm very conscious of how gender stereotypes play into how we nurture our kids. My contribution to supporting women has been to be a working mum with a career in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. To try and instil in my kids that they can both do whatever they put their minds to, and that kindness and openness are not a vulnerability but a strength that we all need to lean into. Differences are to be celebrated and respected, and we would all be stronger if everyone lived by this ethos - living in Northern Ireland this is even more apparent than ever to me.

What barriers have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them?

I don't think I've really faced many barriers other than the ones I've put up for myself. I've probably been the biggest barrier to myself earlier in my career by not having the confidence and self-belief I should have had to move away from negative situations.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Follow your gut and never let anyone put you down. Have the confidence to believe in yourself and surround yourself with people that build you up, not knock you down. Keep your sense of humour and don't bother with the fringe - too much work!

 

Sarah Williams, Senior Digital Marketing Manager:

What barriers have you faced in your career and how did you overcome them? 

 

Throughout my career, I have witnessed gender inequality in leadership roles, especially within the aerospace and financial industries. I overcame this by working with senior management to develop and implement strategies that address the skills gap, retention, succession, and inclusion. I also looked for network opportunities, finding creative solutions to constraints and advocating for myself and other women in the workplace. 

 

What advice would you give to your younger self? 

 

That it is ok to not know everything, to back myself more, and to ask more questions when I was uncertain - because everyone else is thinking it too! Everything you learn in theory does not represent the real world, and you need to adapt accordingly to the ever-changing business landscape. 

 

What has been your biggest achievement or name a highlight in your career? 

 

I think for me it's about how I have progressed from 10 years ago until now. Marketing, and Digital Marketing more specifically, is always about learning something new and getting involved in everything from Brand, through to Demand Generation, and everything in-between. It's been an incredibly challenging career but exciting at the same time. 

 

 

 

Its true that, in many ways, that the world still has a long way to go to reach a point where true gender equity exists. These four inspiring stories, taken from just some of the brilliant women who work at Wazoku, are a small part of the millions of tales from women around the world who are paving the way to a more equal, more inclusive, and more positive future.

Topics: News, Wazoku, Article

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