It’s Women’s History Month, a celebration that evokes a wide range of emotions across social media channels, from those how revel in the opportunity to raise up and celebrate the contributions of women, to those who feel that the month reinforces the notion that women do not play a full part in society. I find the month raises mixed emotions.
Having trained as an engineer and now running a small business, I’ve become used to being one a few women at the table. However, that is starting to change. There has been a consistent rise in the number of women-led businesses (I.e., those with 100% female director(s)), so that now they make up around one in five of all businesses in the UK. There are increases being seen in the number of women who found businesses, through to the number of women with a seat on a FTSE 100 Board. Even retail entrepreneur and TV dragon Theo Paphitis revealed last week that 78% of his #SBS Small Business Sunday winners are female led businesses.
Across industry, female business owners and leaders are playing a pivotal role in shaping the UK’s economy and creating jobs. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and take immense joy in seeing the other women I know succeed in their chosen roles. I really enjoy sharing their successes and seeing them take on new challenges. If there is a slight focus on sharing such stories during March, I can embrace that.
That said, it is equally frustrating that, having spent a lot of time being a minority in the room that there is still a need for events to amplify all voices. Having trained as an engineer and now owning a business, it seems as though I am still having conversations now that I had at the start of my career. Why is it that female-led businesses find it harder to raise investment and capital? Why do women seem to suffer from imposter syndrome more than men? There are no quick or easy solutions to these questions. But, just like the starfish parable, I can try and make a difference to a few people.
So, during March I will celebrate women’s achievements, starting with the amazing data science, data engineering, project management and marketing women at Bays. Each one is unique, awesome and phenomenal at their role. I’ll keep making sure that they have opportunities to raise their voices and celebrate their achievements, until we don’t need to do this anymore. However, until that time comes, I will enjoy reading about the stories and voices I knew nothing about that come to light during March – and make sure I share them for more people to learn.