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Reimagination At Work by Watch This Sp_ce
Reimagination At Work by Watch This Sp_ce

Episode 28 · 3 months ago

What's the point of International Women's Day?

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

On 8th March we celebrate yet another International Women's Day. But given that we've been holding this day globally since 1975 (and in some countries since 1911) and gender equality is yet to materialise, is it actually doing anything? Haven't we raised enough awareness by now? Allegra and Rachel chat to Amber Mellowship - Marketing Manager of the BRITE programme at Plus X innovation hub - about whether IWD campaigns are all style and no substance, and whether it has been reduced to a marketing opportunity. Amber shares what you can do to turn your marketing into meaningful action and how organisations can provide genuine support to women in business. 

Plus X creates innovation hubs, enabling business of all sizes to collaborate, innovate and grow. With a unique formula combining world class architecture, healthy and inspiring work space, specialist facilities, business support programmes and academic knowledge exchange, Plus X helps business and communities to thrive. Find out more about Plus X, Trailblazing for Change and the BRITE programme visit www.plusx.space.

Hello and welcome to the reimagination at work podcast. This is a podcast where we challenge everything we think you know about the world of work and aim to build a more inclusive environment that powers innovation. My name is Alega Chapman. I am one of the CO creators of which this space and I am your host for today, and I'm joined by my lovely colleague Rachel Pearson. Helly, Rachel, Hi Alegra. Is Very exciting to be back on the podcast after quite a long time. been on the old maternity leave. So as it's been nice to spend some time learning how to be a whole, new human being, with a new whole you knew being itself. So you mean a person? I'm crazy person. Yeah, I did it by myself. Oh by don't have some involvement with starting a new religion? Yeah, it's rated lightful by head. Yes, I've created life, and Rachel, it's still sort of on maternity leave, but we've coated her back because we're at the beautiful podcast studio and Class X, and Rachel was seduced. It is beautiful, beautiful. You know, those are like cartoons where like bugs, bunny or someone sees like a big like prize or something. There's a eyes pop out with heart. That's what my face was like when I walked into the podcast studio here at plus X for first time. I can't remember. That is exactly yeah, face was like all the buttons all the better. There are so many buttons. I'm not touching anything. I'm leaving that all to you. It's terrifying. And before we get into ward of that, I'd like to introduce our sponsor for this podcast. They are plus accounting. Plus accounting is a firm of experience chartered accountants based in Brighton and Hove, offering a comprehensive range of tax and accounting services. They provide support and guidance for all types of business owners to keep control of their finances. What makes them stand out from the crowd is their genuine interest in you and your business. They take time to understand what is important to you and then tailor their services to your requirements. And you can find out more at plus accounting DOT CO DOT UK. And I'm also really excited to welcome on to the podcast and but Mellowship, who works up plus X as a marketing manager specializing in the bright program and the thanks so much, for being here. Thank you for having me. I'm super excited and thank you for coming to our gadget filled podcast. We may never get Rachel out of it. I HAVE NO SID security. I'm for it's really exciting to talk to you and the reason that this will came about is because we got talking about an upcoming event. It is International Women's Day imminently and I know that that you've got some pretty strong feelings about that. They tell us a little bit about what International Women's Day means to you? Yeah, I think often. I've kind of been doing wating an event work for probably about nearly ten years now, so it's always been a kind of part of my world, especially as a young woman in business. I was like always waiting for this day because I actually have really fond memories about it, hearing the most amazing, inspiring speakers, talking to people from different backgrounds and also being in a room full of people who also felt how you did about the inequality that is being faced. So I always had really great memories about it, but also, as now times going on, I have now mixed feelings and it's like a multileveled makes bag of feelings, because I almost think about it as a bit of like a torch light in the forest, and I feel like throughout the year you've got this torch and it's kind of dim and it's a it's a bit weak and you're walking through the forest and everything theme seems really opposing and it's really dark and things are really difficult, and then kind of gets a bit brighter, leading to this day where things are kind of coming into perspective and people are talking...

...about the same things you are and the different oppositions and you sort of think, Oh why, okay, it's getting brighter, this is great, and then you sort of get to this point where the torch shines a light on it and that's great and it feels like you're empowered, but then it goes away very, very quickly, and I feel like the light dims very, very quickly, almost sometimes the day after International Women's Day, after you walk back into a workplace and nothing has changed and nothing the conversation, the conversation stop to there and, like I said, the torch kind of as dimmed and lost its batteries and you're sort of kind of thrown into this feeling where you're like, oh, that was a day okay, so now what happens next? So, yeah, that's been my feelings Rut International Women's Day. Don't know how good that analogy, but it's really good and I love I love an analogy. I reason that was an excellent one. I think I kind of echo those feelings actually, because I've become maybe a bit more cynical about the day itself the more it's been used and abused basically kind of just, you know, a tick box exercise for a lot of companies and a lot of people. I think one of the great things about it is what you touched on, is there are events where women are put in the spotlight and you hear from women where in when you're not necessarily used to sort of hearing from women that much throughout the year and you get this sort of good sense of camaraderie and communication and connection with other women on that day. But, like you said, the torch dims and for the rest of the year you know it's not you know it's not the same. Yeah, I think that is such a great metaal because you get with this bills up. It's what exciting and it's agree. It does feel Nice on the day hearing from people and things are happening, but then it's a sort of gradually moves away. You're like, Oh, we are we done now? Is that? Is that it? And I suppose that's you know, the other question is what, what is the purpose of International Women's Day? What's what's the point of it that we think? Well, I'M gonna be probably the major cynical one out of the bunch, I guess, because you know, I love the idea of celebrating diversity or being a cofounder of diversity. Kind of consultancy would indicate that. I mean, I quite I think that that's fairly important. You would hope. You other ways we can. Yes, I don't want diversity, even the wrong job, but I kind of I feel like these international days of or you know big kind of days of recognizing different types of diversity, diverse diversity, do get kind of like, yeah, like I said, kind of check box, check books dies. That's the word. If you can say it as a words. Sure, and so I kind of I like, I like the idea of celebrating women, but then the cynical side of me is that that should be every day. It's like my husband won't celebrate Valentine's Day because he's like every day should be Valentine's Day. I had you should know I love you every day. A load of bullets. Yeah, that's constantly his excuse. I buy me some flowers. I mean yeah, I think for me as well, like I come from briant. Actually grew up in Kemptown, which is technically the people always called it the gay capital of the UK. I think pride is such an amazing example of where it started off as yes day or even longer terms, libration, and it did raise awareness. Especially when I was a child there was the start of pride. They would have placards of all the countries where it was still legal to be gay or the where the death penalty was introduced, and you know, people started with that learning, learning what stone wall was, learning about the riot, and then I feel like as time has gone on, pride is really good example is that. Actually, when you watch the parade in Brighton, sometimes in recent years it's very corporate and it's big brands who have paid for that position. And I feel like International Women's Day,...

...for me, is starting to feel like it's going down the same trajectory where it's like the start of it was great. These amazing reports come out where people are paying in, the brands are paying for these studies and reports, which we all need to show that huge inequality, which is great and I think that's what we need because that really does influence the place of work. But then we also feel like we're going down a trajectory where brands are also putting, you know, women photos up and women marketing campaigns and not really doing anything else, and I feel like pride is a really good example of how that happened and I feel like interatal Wednesday, it is, for me, starting to feel like it's going down the same route of maybe sometimes the awareness or maybe the statistics aren't being talked about in people's posts or the big problems that people are scared to talk about aren't being talked about an international women's Day, but we'll do a nice picture and a campaign or a nice video, like you know. Well, it's things, you know. It's so the big the big voices, the big brands in organizations out there drowning out, drowning out the kind of meaningful stuff you know, like that. You mentioned pride. That was on my mind as well when I was speaking before and that you know, it was a protest before and it did a massive amount to raise awareness, and the same with International Women's Day and other movements as well. Raised a lot of awareness, educated people to a certain point. Then big brands in corporations jump on the kind of bandwagon because it's a great hidden inverted commerce marketing activity and drown all of that stuff out so much so that actually, you know, when you've raised awareness so much and when you've, you know, educated people to a certain level, the movement has got to go. Well, what's next? Now people know about this? No, people understand a bit about it. What's next? But that's not happening because, you know, it was kind of like when there was the blackout on instagram where everyone's posting black squares, and actually that was incredibly unhelpful because it was blocking out people being able to communicate during during the sort of protest. I think it's kind of come to a point where we kind of need, like, you know, testco and Sainsbury's and to kind of stand down a little bit. Said, I say this with love because obviously I'm but role is marketing, but Rachel and I are both marketers as well, but yeah, all backgrounds and marketing. So I say this you know love, but is it the problem now that just all the marketing people have got involved and hijacked it and turned into an opportunity for yeah, I think that's basically how I have been working within the last year as a marketer. Thinking it's really interesting how I'm looking at these calendar dates and how I'm doing it, and then people who work in other parts of business maybe it's not even a thing that they thought about. And I think you're right. I do think you're right, because I think there's a public perception on how to do the right thing and how to care for other people. But I think what's really important is the business or the marketers thinking, is what I'm doing actually making an impact? Did it make an impact? Did that post did that before I made that bit of content? Did it make an impact? Did it actually help a charity or help someone who was actually in need? Like, I think there's a lot of things where people like, oh, but we're raising awareness, and we love to say that phrase, specially marketing. We love it. Brand awareness, a lot of awareness, which is not necessarily a bad thing, and I think there's loads of things doing that is good in some areas, but I also think it's always the question of a business to go. But did that make an impact? And not only did it make an impact, but for the people on the lowest end of the most disadvantage, did it make an impact for them especially? And I think if a business or a market tear or a brand person consistently ask themselves that question, it will always drive you to do it better next time, and I think that's all you can ever ask for, is that you will learn from every mistake, that I'll get it wrong, plus x will get it wrong, brands will get it wrong all the time, name but if...

...you've gone away and gone a ussess that and it with that Lens, I think that's that's where real change does happen. I think that's such an incredibly important point because I think we're all guilty as marketers of getting carried away with chasing the kind of metrics that we think the kind of you know, people as top will want to hear and we'll give us their full budget for, which is just meaningless. It clicks and likes and share and things that don't actually change anything. But what's the actual real world impact of the activity that you're doing should be the real measure behind everything. So, with that in mind, is in such a women say having an impact? Is it still relevant or should we scrap the whole thing? I mean, I don't think we should scrap it, but I'm not sure you know of for the top of my head, how to really change the things that I think would need to change, and I think it's maybe down to marketers to ask themselves those questions. But also, you know, is my voice the right voice to be talking about this? If we want to talk about it as a business, is that appropriate? Like have we have we paid our dues in a way, like, are we living what we're preaching? You know, and I think actually genuinely a good marketing opportunity for us, because really, you shouldn't be marketing unless you've got something to shout about. Yeah, what are you marketing? You just jumping on it because it's a Hashtag that might get you reach, or have you got a story or an example of an action that you've taken or something you've done that's actually made me yeah, and I think I'm talking about if you're you know, if you are doing it just for your marketing alone, then I think that's not a good enough reason to get involved. I think if you are, I think it's one good reason that should be part of a several other good reasons that you work through in the kind of like, you know, do I belong in this space as as you know, this x brand or whatever? I think if you're putting people like the appropriate people forward or telling about the people's stories that are relevant, or if you are, you know, raising money or supporting in some way, that that doesn't sort of just benefit you. I think what I'm trying to say is long it is not just benefiting your marketing and getting you this awareness. It's about, I think, being genuine. I guess, just like hamper said, having we need we knack at'm ber scale to measure it on about, you know, is it having an impact? Is it's something that's important? Is it relevant? Otherwise maybe just be quiet. HMM. Yeah, and I think something that I find really interesting is sometimes, you know, interacual Wednesday panels, the speakers, I might be so really expensive and I think from a business that isn't sue with marketing, thinking about whether I could have spent that money on training every member of my staff to be more inclusive and diverse. Would that actually have a longer term impact then US getting some revenue and people buying some drinks are, you know, in to come to an event? I think that's the kind of questions that again, marketing. It can't be all on marketing, but I think it's powerful for marketers to do it. I think marketers, when they say look, I'm not putting that marketing out there until you change these things, use that position. That's what I believe. I think marketing does have that value because as soon as you get time around and go, I'm not comfortable doing that until we make these changes, that is your person like. That's a powerful position to have and I think that's where, you know, the authenticity can be. You know, you can be empowered to try and bring it. But yeah, it I suppose it depends on the person in the role and it depends how you feel about it. But that's something that I feel really strongly about because I think marketers, yeah, sometimes you do have that power. MMM, that would be a great bar to set that. You know, unless you have something to say, you're just not going to say anything at all. If you don't have something to say. But you want accountability.

I think that's another thing and I think like saying we are going to do this. That's a powerful way to keep your business account and I think people want to see that. Like I personally feel very empowered when I see things and brands or places and spaces going we're going to make these changes within the next year or however long, and feel free to talk to us about it and say your opinion and bring you into it, and I think that's also a great thing for a business student like you don't have to have had it right for the last ten years. Yeah, I don't think anyone has really, to be honest, social very other exactly me as a person, it might even as yeah, as a human being. Yeah, you haven't got it right for last yeah, as a promise. We Know Mas Right, we were there ware of yeah, I think that would be that's much more powerful if they stopped trying to pretend that they've nailed it and actually stood up for International Women's Day and gone today. Well, we need to do better and these are the things we're going to do. That would be a much more powerful piece of content than who, look, we found someone in the office take a pig and a long time, long term kind of marketing plans were part of your marketing plans for the next year? Call you know, cooling yourself out on we've not been getting these things right. We've not been doing these things. We know that that's not acceptable. Here's our plan for doing it and then keeping the people that follow you and support you and pay for the services for months, keeping everyone updating. Yeah, are there any brands that you feel I think Rachel has some strong feelings about this because we've already spoke about it, and Eddie, Eddie, brands that you feel have really not done a great job with their international Wednesday mark? Anyone who makes their products pink logo changes. Yeah, please, can we bann virtue single take box logo changes like the pride flag on your window. Don't want to see it unless you have changed fundamentally how you're hiring and supporting people in your space. Don't give me like a rope, like a rainbow logo for two months or whatever I do. What could stop everything's not being patter? Hate pain and I just go on record to say that I despise pink and everything going pink. I'm in it's just there's an amazing, amazing example of this as to one was shell, who obviously not one of my favorite formorations in the world, but they change there one of their garage names to she'l as in she apostrophe Dommoll and it's one of my favorite brand stories because it's like they change their lago and it was just for the day and that was it. That was that's what they chose to do, and I find that so funny about how, again, changing something esthetically, that took someone on a graphic designer two minutes to do and there was not any single question of what actually would that do for anyone things. There was. I love that one of that. Well, the actual real world people are just going to frown at that and go HMM, okay, get my guess. I absolutely loved Bick. Made Their Lady Bit pens and tells it pink. And this is when it's finally right. My Lady Pink Pains. That could be a wonderful force figid sometimes because everyone's descended on Amazon to leave all these ridiculous reviews. Never been able to hold a pen before, and now finally there's a punch of hitch my lady fingers who it's like with that. I don't need a pink pen. My Biro is fine like that. Is Not the issue that's holding me back in my career from having equality in the workplace and being able to earn a salary equal to my husband. It's not because I haven't got the rank colored pen. That's where we've been going on wrong all these years. Is the one. So I took. was telling you about a Lego. I was on Maternas, who leaves, so obviously I'm just watching like morning television. I got some very angry messages for Rach and it was quite timely and I'm very conflicted about it because all of the ITV, all of the women of ITV, got together wearing pink dresses for a photo shoot. I'm not entirely sure what else beyond that it was. It was just about I think that in their sort of blurb for the bit was like,...

...you know, celebrating each other and that kind of stuff. There was no real substance to it and I'm conflicted about it because I hate it. Just hate it like there's there was nothing about, you know, there was nothing of substance behind it, like why they doing it? Have they got you know, are they going out into their you know, communities? You know, there's people like Holly Willoughby, Lorraene Kelly, who I absolutely love. I think we need to stay for the record that we love Lorne Kelly, love her, I love Holly Willoughby. I kind of like all of them. There's a lot of the loose women. There is Judy Love, who I think is amazing as well. Oh that woman is brilliant. But why get together and we're pink as like a dresses? I feel like it's the least feminist thing that you could was really confused when I was watching it. And I don't know any wrong with wearing pink dresses. By the way, if you know a pink dress, well, I loved ring, go for it. But I love think it makes me feel lovely. But I have a problem when it's like just linked to everything enforced pink female women or femininity as well. Yeah, but, Loren Kelly, but we do are very love you. Yeah, but yeah, it's was the substance behind Ye, are you paying all of these women equally? Lead to their male yeah, well, that's a really good question about yeah, that's a good question. I think it's like External Lens asn't it? Like we're going to make this nice image, we're going to do that, but also what's the internal lends? It's like where both ways? What's happening? I think that's when I think a campaign does really, really well, is if the the external, is meeting the internal or if it hasn't got there yet. What are they doing to change that internal lends? Because putting pink t shirts on someone, and this is a kind of quite exclusion, really like I was kind of thinking like okay, International Women's Day, you know it is about connection and raising the profiles of women and a quality and all of that. You know, those important things, but those important messages have to reach the people that have the power to change those things and unfortunately, and that kind of the point, is kind of its men. So I was thinking, like what are these campaigns are? You know, dressing these amazingly powerful women up in pink and doing some Nice, pretty photos kind of just reduces that message. What are the people that, you know, the men that are in positions to make those decisions going to think of that kind of campaign? I think it is just a bit reductive. If anything, but I'm going to watch it still and see what happens, because they might have some kind of amazing campaign where they fund you're a school school women, schools for girls, and yeah, you know, it's really the public apology. Really Yeah, I'm pretty recorded. My apologies, but yeah, I think that's a really good point. And if we're talking about it, bigger piece of marketing content, your first question or to people, who's your audience and most of the impact you're hoping to have on them, and it's this the way to do and I think the audience from morning TV is primarily women. But again, it's just a bit reductive to everyone and I don't any and on the flip side, are there any campaigns that you think of really nailed it? I'm really done. Well, I guess it's more like events that I've seen really then campaigns exactly, because campaigns in my mind of just been synonymous with brands and marketing in the quite a selfish word. So kickass women. There's an event put on every year, or has every year for the last few years. That's great because it's community based as well, so, you know, you get to hear from women that are in your community that are either leading businesses or charity work, and it's genuinely really inspiring to hear from them. So it is really kind of events like that that I kind of that I you know, enjoying get some something out of for International Women's Day. Yeah, I agree. I think they're the best campaigns when it's events, it's internal policies, it's it's let's go three hundred and sixty as we can. I...

...think they're the most the ones that I'm really inspired by. I will often read about big brands and like what they do because I'm always interested because they have big budget pools. I'm like, what you doing with that budget? You know, it really fascinates me and I think that's like you say. I think sometimes the events base really does touch the community and I think that's where you get charitable impact or you have mentoring at a like a closer level. I think it is events that really help with that. I can't I feel like you're right. Sometimes, if it's just marketing alone, HMM, what is that? Apart from content? These days, really I'd love to see campaigns where sort of, you know, the ones that are just kind of changing their logos or doing some pink stuff. Actually do like a three hundred and sixty and just go. Do you know what, for International Women's Day and for the rest of the year, in the spirit of this day, in this cause, we're going to give expercent of our marketing budget to the girls network or similar kind of organizations. You know, we're not going to change our logos or do anything. This is what we're doing. Something actually tangible would be a great campaign. That might happen, that might have happened. I don't know. There's a free idea for you there. That's the ideas for everybody. And if you've done it right, and then tell usable publicly apologizes to so many public apologies. I've got to prepare. Our second sponsor for this month's podcast is ideal. They are experts and networks cybersecurity, collaboration and platforms. Ideal design deliver a manage core technology from world leaders, including Microsoft, CISCO AND PALO altne networks, to help you create value, protect your critical data and applications and accelerate your business transformation. You can find out more ideal dot co dot UK and but let's talk a little bit more about you. Tell us a bit about your experience in your career and what led you to you working here at plus x and a little bit about how being a woman's affected how you've been treated, shaped your career, shaped where you've ended up. Yeah, absolutely, so I've always been a creative gal, I would a growing up in Brighton. I've been really lucky to be around creative and sort of be from that background. But I went to you need, did English literature and went to Bournemouth and then straight off that I kind of threw myself into the typical way of going to the corporate world as a graduate because in my position it was like, Brian may not have jobs around or for me to grow in a career, so I'm going to go straight to London. Soon discovered that the corporate and, let's be frank, very male heavy world was not the best starting point to grow in and was very different to what I knew and I think, as we're probably discussed, as like a young girl, very young sort of in those environments where it's not necessarily the issues with the men themselves, but it's about out quantity and it's about representation and it's about how outnumbered you are sometimes to just be able to ask a mentor or appear and be like, you know, I don't know how to do this, or why is it that I'm the only person raising this and a room full of people who are different to me? You know, I think that was kind of an interesting start to that which actually probably catapulted me to coming back to Brighton and doing stuff with startups and used to work for ECO and sustainable startups. I'm very sort of in a queer community with lots of my friends, so I feel like it's been a heart of what everything I've done within my career. But I think what's been really interesting is seeing bigger scirl companies and then small, really starting small companies. You can see such a dramatic difference of these new innovative companies coming in or startups like yourself, or scale ups who are working with changing the game and trying to make those changes at right at the beginning. They're not going...

...to wait ten, twenty years when they've already made this environment and this culture. They're trying to do that right now and I think that's what's really excited me and drawn me to being in this world at plus x where we're in this innovation space and I was saying earlier, like I'm walking around and there's women with babies and dogs in one hand and they all flexible work. Like there's an amazing business called gamely games. There's a woman called Hazel Reynolds. She's really inspires me when I think about women making a job role and a business that works for women and works for people to have flexible work or they're given the right amount of maternity support, and the way she'd is completely it's everything she believes in and she's made the business work around her for that reason. So she is instilling that with all her employees and I think that's what's really inspiring about being in the space, as I can see that happening every single day. Those changes are happening and that's what's really exciting. I can kind of see that those old traditional ways, you know, nine hundred and twenty five, going up there being a sort of very it was kind of hard to be vulnerable in those situations, I think, whereas now I think you can be vulnerable and you can ask for help, especially in these innovation hubs and spaces where people are in the kitchen talking about collaboration and talking about business issues and I think that's kind of the benefit of not working in the siloid office with a culture that has probably been around for a while and you're really separate and you're not really the the people in child may not be able to see different ways of working because they know that this is there for walls and it works for them, so why would we change it, whereas if you work in collaborative spaces you can see how different every single person works and how how they want to make that change. That's so true. Like a you know, we've CIS. Have just moved into plus x maybe a couple of months ago and we we had our we had our you know for walls office, just, you know, ourselves and our own office before, and I'm not saying this is the case for site of his, but I can I can see working from other other businesses in their own offices very kind of separate from the rest of the world, that a culture can kind of fester and it might be a good culture, but then the bad things about it can kind of fester within it, whereas if you're in this you know, amazingly big collaborative space with other businesses, you're constantly being you know, confronted with different ideas, different people, different ways of doing things. So there's a little plug for plastic. Yeah, it's also it's so true because, I mean, we know ourselves as a start up at which this space it's so easy, however much you might go into it with the idea of creating something brand new in a different way of working, if you've been used to a very kind of traditional way of doing things, it's so easy to just fall back into those patterns because that's what you know, whereas that, you say, when you're surrounded by other people, and especially being in an innovation Hublo plus x, where you've got access to you know, resources, tools, training, you know different ways of doing things, in different ways of looking at things, and you can talk to other founders and see how they've done things and what hasn't hasn't worked for them. Suddenly, you know, you're aware of all these other possibilities and different ways that you could do things and different opportunities. Yeah, absolutely, and I think with like the business program especially when you have female founders like that's amazing to see. For me, I'm always so excited when I see bright program bright businesses together because their female founders sharing those frustrations and there's they're learning about these different ways of doing things and I think that's kind of the benefit of being in a space where you can get those free resources or fully funded programs and you can work flexibly and you've got this. This is where we start to see women making amazing businesses that they want to make and they want to do and do the things they want to do, rather than just doing what they think of work or having to fit the mold of what's been before, and I think that's really exciting and I think, yeah, hopefully that change will continue. Yeah,...

...the more that happens, the more that happens, the more kind of working culture will change. You know, over time, the more female led businesses leading the those businesses in ways that work specifically for women rather than just, you know, a cookie cutter thing. You know, that will spill out into culture in sort of more traditional businesses over time. It's why we need more diversity of leadership so that people could learn from different woman from perspective. We talked quite a lot about all the things that organizations have been doing wrong around them international women's Day. So what we've said there's a real need for tangible change and concrete actions rather than just marketing. So what sorts of things would both of you like to see organizations doing to genuinely support women in business? I think for me I would just like to see businesses putting their money where they're their mouth is. A bit two things. Putting their money where their mouth is, so if they have internal, you know, problems, being up front with that and committing to changing those and doing it publicly. So one thing, and then also, I think, big a corporations that do have a lot of money and businesses. I think, you know, supporting, like I mentioned the girls network, but other other other organizations like that as well, so that money and budget and resources going into places where girls who are growing up are kind of supported to then become these female founders later on. They're equipped with, being mentored by, you know, other women who have kind of gone through that process themselves and kind of feeding, feeding the bottom of the entrepreneurial you know, bucket, filling the bucket with you know, you get what I mean, but you know, like Tro of the metaphor. Yeah, the best was come crazy. I got so excited about myth full of Yees. So I think we talked about three hundred and sixty. I would say like that Internal Lens as well as external. I think, yeah, with events, I think community aspect, I think money from tickets. I think, yeah, like Rachel was saying, put money, put your money where your mouth is. But also, I think, I think with the girls networking that I you know, positioning, things like that. I think it's really important that. I feel like I never had someone that would open the door for me. I think that's what I'd like to see, because I think we do a lot of mentoring as women, or maybe we talk about the subject as women, but I've never really had any insight personally from someone who did grow in the career ladder. And what was the difficult conversation that you had that you were really frustrated and actually you navigated it right because it worked for you, because I feel like I'm always lost on what did you what did you do in that situation? How did you navigate that conversation to get your seat at the table? Because I think we do do a lot of events and I love that and I think mentioning them it's really important, but actually, I I'm still clueless. I'm very clueless how I how I can progress, because the women around me seemed to be here too. We are in the middle. We're all in the middle management like and you know, in different business we do have female lead ship roles of plus X, but in the previous company that worked with it was very middle ground. And then I'm like, well, you know, I can't really see anyone up there that's like me. And then also I don't know how to ask or find out that information on how I can progress there. And I still feel a bit clueless about that because I think the speakers and sometimes upon is sometimes they would say themselves like it was like it was timing, it was I had the right connection or whatever, and I know there's never an easy answer or an easy guide, but I think the more we could try and teach people how they could progress. We're very self deprecating as women, like that's something that we're sort of taught to do.

It's society expects us to be quite you know, oh no, it wasn't, it wasn't me, it was luck or it just happens to be in the right tire the right place and you know it. But actually you know that's not true. They put in some serious house and some series work to get where they are, because it isn't easy as a woman to get to the top. So anyone who's got there has worked bloody hard and done really well to get there. So actually, if we were encouraged to to you or haunts a little bit more and then go back and feedback to everybody else, that what the secret is. Yeah, and I think that's so right. I think it's like it can't just happen in the business world because society is totally based that whole our whole landscape in women being that way. We're stereotype that way. I remember I was in my career earlier on. Earlier on they said that I was really sensitive, so I could never be a manager or a leader, and now I'm like five years down the line I'm like, I'm a really good manager, I'm a really good leader. But it shows you that I think sometimes one person can say something and it sticks with you forever because your whole society has given you that stereotype as well. And then you realize that every job you go for you critique yourself going on a bit. You sensitive for that and you'll realize, and I think that's really interesting. It's like we can change a business world, we can change our bubbles, but actually society will eventually need to do need to catch up and help us, empower us to do that, because there's no point me shouting about it over here when no one else is showing about it. And I think also for me, it's like I have a I have a scope because I'm a plus sized woman as well. So I think my scope is I always talk about this because I do think it's important that it's very differential. There's lots of disadvantages and I think women of Color, for example, what experience it way worse than I have. But also, you know, being a bees or be a plus sized woman has its own interesting background as well, because we are statistically less likely to get paid as much and less likely to get jobs because society has made women have to appear a certain way, a certain size and certain beauty standards. So I think that's really interesting as well, because the scale of this effect, it's almost like a ladder. It's like, where are you on the ladder and where does that put you? And then also thinking about well, we must be have to help the people lowest on the ladder to make this to make our whole society work better. All, like you say, have diverse people within the roles that we want to have to make our businesses better, because without those, how are you ever gonna be innovative? How are you ever going to create new technology or things for the right people? Yeah, yeah, it's so true and you're really right that it's got to be a wider society shift. It can't just be with an organizations, because I've been called too sensitive before and a man wouldn't be called too sensitive. Sensitive is a word that gets thrown up women and and also gets a negative connotation when it's it's talking about women. But why is being sensitive a bad thing? And actually, to be a good manager you need to be quite sensitive to people's feelings and needs and you know how they're how they're doing with things. But we frame it as a negative and all of these things are kind of thrown negatively at women. And you think about being plus sighs unique. Women's bodies are critiqued in a way that men's bodies aren't, and that's that. That's a society thing and unless that goes away in a broader sense, it's not going to change in the way that we do business and we when we work together. So that's yeah, it's got to be a broader change than just businesses. But I know that you're doing some really great work around this because I know it's something that you're so passionate about. So tell us a little bit about what you're doing at x for intercial Wednesday. Yeah, so I'm really excited about this. So I when I joined Ross last year I started a platform called childblazing women and it was like a month long series of events and content and work with the community and the Brighton Women's center and found and flourish and we spring forward and great partners to try and make a difference with around Brighton, with what we were doing, and it was coming to the end of last year...

...and people are going to be what we doing for International Women's Day and I was like yeah, yeah, we're going to be doing we will be doing things, but I kind of stat with it for a while. I was just like, actually, I don't feel like that's what we should be doing. I think maybe let's use this as a moment in time that we can really look at our business as it grows and see what we can put as tangible drivers and I think targets as a business to improve our spaces are opportunities for women and marginalized genders. So I have been working with the leadership, which has been a really great opportunity and they've really empowered me to create this pledge to basically for all the different parts of the business to pledge what they can do and how we can improve things for women in marginized genders in our spaces and the business all year round. So it's not just going to be one of an with a nice panel and some food and a nice, good spread, although I do love that as well. Yeah, give me a buffe any time. But yeah, it will be throughout the year and tangible targets with also events and we'll still have those really important championing empowering moments, but actually what we can do with real change. So on International Women's Day there will be our pledge or God live. People can talk to us about it, people can get involved. But yeah, I think it's a really exciting movement and, like I keep saying, it's more than one day. That's the campaign. But, like I keep saying, it's just a it's a stepping stone in the right direction, because this pledge will make such a difference for one year and then we can it will hold us accountable and it will show that actually, going forward, we can look back at this and see what's worked, what actually benefited the women are marginalized genders in our spaces and what didn't and make sure we adapt our needs for those people. That sounds really amazing and it's such a positive thing to really be looking internally at what you can change about yourselves that making that long term commitments to it. Yeah, it's really exciting and I think it's been such a great process to be in a brand that's, I kind of why plus x exists. Like the whole premise of plucks up plus x is to build innovation communities, but in areas of red that need regeneration and to give different people opportunities and I think, like we've talked about, the best way to innovate, innovation happens when you have a diverse group of people from different backgrounds, diverse cultures, diverse technology, diverse skills, and I think it's a really promising future for the UK, especially that we are starting more communities and spaces like this. Yeah, for sure. And tell us a little bit about the bright program and the sorts of businesses that are involved in it and what you see with startups at the moment. That how they're embracing diversity and innovation. Yeah, so at plus x we run innovation programs. The one in Brighton's run with the University of Brighton and this is the bright project. So this helps businesses who are really ambitious. They want to scale and Innovay, but they might not know the best routes to go down or they might just need expertise. So I think this is great for people in Brighton especially who may have been on short the next steps were to grow and ambition. They might get funding or they might suddenly get investment and they don't know quite whereabouts what the plan should be and how do they innovate in skill in the right way. And our job is to not only give them a space and the facilities. We have workshops where in the podcast sweet, the media sweet, to give them everything they need, but also that scalable and education and resource, because for me, that is what I'm passionate about, is giving that true value. So yeah, it's really exciting and, like I mentioned before Hazel Reynolds on the in is on the bright program and she is part of gamely games. So it's been really exciting to see her and how she's looking at employment and support for women in her business. There's a couple of great female founders are...

...there's Laura from votch who was just on dragons den. She's a really inspiring you did some model I did. I sound like I work for them, I actually don't. I did some modeling for them, but also that's a really good example. Again they had a really diverse modeling day and it was really inspiring for me because, as we probably all know, plus size won whenever models until recently really so it's really inspiring to see that these new founders of different diversity and like initiatives are coming through, are getting this investment and they are growing with programs like Brite program and I'm excited to see what that happens in the future because if this is the start of these businesses growing and if this is going to happen across the UK, we could be in a really good position in years to come. If people are still trying to make this change and start their businesses right. You know, I think you were talking about it where it's like, don't worry about your inclusivity five years and when it's too late to change it. But seeing people doing it right now, at that very start of their journeys, I yeah, I am so passionate about that. Yeah, definitely, that something that we hear. A lot of businesses will come to US after they've scaled very, very quickly and they'll say, oh, we didn't have time to think about diverse the inclusion because we were growing so quickly and we just had to do everything, and now they're kind of in a bit of a mess with it and they've ended up with a, you know, a very homogeneous group of people and not the space to innovate and come up with these different respectives and ideas. So yeah, for sure, if you can think about it right from the very beginning, before you've scaled really quickly and and you've got fifty employees and they all do the same, yeah, it's like but yeah, for you to prove Your Business and I think it's like, you know, the places that we go and we build innovation communities, the bold thinkers are there, they have the ideas, but it's just helping them turn it into something brilliant and if we can help them with the expertise we offer. Such different programs for different people, whether it's run, sustainability or whatever. I think there's such a big opportunity here for the future of what work looks like and I'm really excited as, personally, I wish. I wish this was started ten years ago when I was first joy and then I could put my stamp on it and do these things. But it's exciting to see it happen and I think with International Women's Day, I I'm pretty sure these founders will all be talking about it in there, you know that, in their program meetings or wherever, and thinking about what this means for their brand going forward. And I think, yeah, it's interesting to see how this day will develop, whether people will still put such importance on it, because it's obviously still important to raise awareness. But I do think everything we've discussed is is so much bigger than that and it will be interesting to see what happens in the field of International Women's Day. Definitely, and but thank you so much for joining us. It's been such an interesting conversation. I feel like a cad chat to you for hours. Yeah, we do. We're gonna get kicked out with beautiful because it's yeah, thank you very much. Tell us how people can get involved. Yeah, they're more than day campaign. How they can get involved the break program how they can connect with you personally? I think absolutely, absolutely. So, yeah, you can see everything that we're doing with the more than one day campaign on International Women's Day at plus x space on socials, or x dot space, our website, which will be forward slash chilblazing for change to this song more than a day campaign, which will hopefully make tangible change in a long term way. If you're interested in coming to plus X, getting to know us or using any of our resources or the stunning podcast, sweet recommend yeah, you can find us the same place, plus plus x dot space. My Name's amber, so you can always reach out to me and Beur millership on Linkedin, because we'd love to hear from you. Thank you very much. That really thanks I but thank you so much for being here and thank you all for listening. This has been the reimagination at work podcast from which this space. If you want to get in...

...touch with us, you can find us at watch this space dot UK. And we are at watch this spce on all of your favorite social media channels. Thank you so much and we will see you next time.

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