International Women's Day: Be bold for change

Mar 10 2017

Change and Challenge was the focus of the International Women’s Day discussion at London’s House of Commons. Hosted and chaired by James Cliffe, HSBC and attended by our Founder Rebecca Fordham. Other speakers included Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan MP and Jo Churchill, MP. 

The shameful stat that gender parity will not be achieved until 2067, according to the Fawcett Society, was highlighted and attitudes towards women in the work place.

‘I continue to be referred to as an assistant,’ Allin-Khan MP despite being elected to office over a year ago, training and working as a doctor both in London inner city hospitals and refugee camps.

Working in Lebanese camps and with victims of flooding in Pakistan, ‘I wanted to do that before having a family because I was often in a precarious situations, but it helped me understand human desperation.’

Closer to home, expense of childcare for working mums was raised, ‘if a child is sick employees working for large companies such as Google are provided with emergency childcare, an advantage not available to small businesses and entrepreneurs.' Rebecca Fordham, Tales of Thread.

Such provisions do not come without contention, ‘why cant companies accept that when children are sick they want their mother with them.’ Allin-Khan.

Jo Churchill MP, who sits on the Women and Equalities Select Committee, was keen to know what changes women wanted to see following her report ‘High heels and work places dresscode’ (Jan 2017) was considered as well as barriers that continue to face women individually and as entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Regulations such as the auto-enrolment are proving extremely difficult for some small businesses to meet. Nearly six million workers have enrolled into new schemes designed to encourage them to save for retirement, fears are building that small firms and families who employ nannies and gardeners will be thrown into crisis, as they are unable to cope with the demands.

‘I am patronised by older men and often women. So I am too scared to say what I think in case I am punished for it at the expense of my career,’ young women working for Time.

Jo Churchill encouraged women to be bold, stand up for themselves because without a voice change will not happen.

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