Real women, real inspiration – International Women’s Day 2024

Published by Carrie James on 8 March 2024

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Ahead of International Women’s Day 2024, we hosted a networking breakfast bringing together a number of women in leading roles in their business and business sector, often traditionally dominated by men.

They discussed this year’s theme #InspiringInclusion, and to share experiences and anecdotes, what has inspired them on their career journey and what more can be done by them and others to inspire colleagues in the workplace and beyond. 

We have summarised those thoughts: 

Shifting perceptions of what it means to be a trailblazer in a business

Being seen by younger women to be the first to do things in a business is important for shaping who and what comes after. As well as being the first, being inclusive, for example, giving others the opportunity if they don’t come from the expected traditional education routes. Social mobility also plays a huge role in inspiring others and firms that offer these opportunities will be greatly enriched. People want to work with them and for them. Businesses need to create an empowering environment which is broader than gender. 

Its ok not to prioritise work

Sometimes, work can wait and it is ok to say no, to prioritise family or personal needs. Team’s need to be empowered to say that if necessary. Opening doors to success is not just based on financial rewards but helping people to manage their time and their other priorities in life. Younger women need to be encouraged to put in place boundaries on their time as it will be more beneficial to their career in the longer term. 

There is no such thing as perfectionism

Everyone is good at masking, but it is important to let the mask slip. No one is perfect, no one is superwoman. It’s ok to show your flaws because that is human – everyone has them. Be proud to be a role model, imperfections, and all. 

Encourage curiosity, challenge, and courage

Not everyone sounds the same or is from the same background and showing others they can reach where you are in your career, regardless of this, is important. Being your true authentic self is why people want to work with you. Having role models is also very important –  regardless of gender – to encourage and empower self-worth.  

It’s important for us all to know our worth and encourage other women and girls to know their worth, the value they bring and be confident when discussing salary / pay as well.  

Share stories

Women want to hear more about other women, their lives, their challenges, their business journey, their success, and their failure. We should all be showcasing more of these stories. People want to spend more time meeting likeminded others, but it is hard to find the right women’s networks to have these conversations face to face, as they don’t hang out in the same places or have the same interests.  

Lonely at the top

It is a struggle to recruit enough women into senior positions in some business sectors to effect change within it and more needs to be done to enable this to happen. It’s important to find the networks, organisations, platforms, charities which champion these causes and provide platforms for women to shine.  

The higher up in the business, the lonelier and the harder it can be to navigate your career. It is important to have a supportive network.  

Mentor, mentor, and mentor

Whether it’s, supporting younger women in the businesses you work, supporting women looking to scale up their business, supporting part time and flexible working or challenging the perceptions of being a career woman. Everyone needs support on their business journey and honest storytelling is important.  

Everyone should be conscious of preconceptions towards other, stand up to negative behaviour with regards to inclusion and be supportive of all women throughout their career to help make difference.  

Find out more about International Women’s Day and this year’s theme #InspiringInclusion here. And read more about the difference between equality and equity here.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Our people are our firm – without them, we couldn’t deliver the fantastic service we’re known for. We have a community of over 500 people in our firm, and within that, smaller communities in different locations, from different backgrounds and with different goals. We want to celebrate them, their differences and their potential.

We are committed to ensuring all our people, regardless of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, disability or age, are supported to be the very best they can be. We are committed to ensuring that all our people feel welcome, supported and equal as part of Kreston Reeves. We are committed to guiding all of our people towards their #brighterfuture.

We recognise our responsibility as a business and are aligning our impact with four of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – one of which is ‘Reduced inequalities’. Two of our colleagues are leading development, progression and training as part of this SDG.

We’re a people business, so it’s incredibly important to us that we create an inclusive environment that welcomes diversity and celebrates our differences. We want all our people to feel supported, empowered, represented, recognised, valued, and appreciated.

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