International Women’s Day has been celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political successes of women around the world since 1911, calling for action against gender inequality in all settings.
Every year, IWD picks a theme for its campaign as a point of focus. The theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias. IWD is encouraging everyone to break the mould by embracing their differences and challenging stereotypes in schools, within our communities and in our workplaces.
As strong advocates for a fair and inclusive workplace, here are some thoughts from within HCR around how we are breaking the bias for a fairer and more inclusive workplace:
Louise Crook, partner and Head of Real Estate Healthcare
“Women need to be inspired by seeing others who they relate to in positions that they aspire to and feel that this is very much something that is in their grasp.
Bias is inevitable, which is why we need positive change to represent all levels and all different social and ethnic groups. This is the only way to break the bias, by representation. To get representation you need people to break through and make the change so the people that come after us can feel like they can relate to and aspire to the leadership roles.
I learn so much working with my team who are a group of people with diverse backgrounds and beliefs. Whilst I lead the team, I take on board lessons all the time from listening to their different viewpoints; picking up on things I would miss/not consider because I don’t have their lived experience. It is a genuine privilege to work with them.”
Dawn Oliver, senior partner
“In my role as the firm’s senior partner, I never wanted or expected people to look up to me as a female role model. I want to break down the seniority barriers to grass roots level and look up with them. Look up to the possibilities that exist for all women in the workplace. Everyone has the right to succeed here at HCR and it’s one of my goals to make sure they know that.”
Sarah Woodall, partner (barrister) and Head of Tax
“As the pandemic matures, there’s much press speculation about the increasing employment mobility of young people in the workforce. A less reported but potentially equally significant part of the evolution relates to mature women, long-established in careers. In a nutshell, treat them badly and you won’t retain talent.
People vote with their feet. I was inspired to join HCR after meeting two women clearly at the top of their game, fulfilled, emancipated and who said they felt valued. To move to HCR was a decision I took almost immediately; I have not regretted it.
Gender is only one of many criteria where organisations must strive for diversity to strengthen representation. Nonetheless, in my opinion, gender remains important and voting with your feet is a credible option. Sometimes it’s right to be brave, and if you find yourself in an organisation where, according to your personal characteristics, evidence suggests that your career will not thrive, move.”
Rod Thomas, managing partner
“For me, the evolution of what we value and believe in is a journey which we are all on – and will continue to be on. Much has been done to change attitudes, but more is needed. We must all constantly assess what is acceptable and what needs to change. It is through this process that true values emerge.
We all have a part to play in making change happen. But the actions we take need to be real, not tokenistic. We each need to recognise how we can contribute by doing something, even if it’s a small thing. When we add all the small things together, they make a difference.”
However you choose to support the movement and #BreakTheBias, we wish you Happy International Women’s Day!