Posted: 06 Mar. 2020 5 min. read

International Women’s Day

Be the role model yourself. Be relatable. Be real.

Sunday the 8th of March was International Women’s Day and we celebrated the occasion with a series of events across our offices. This years’ theme was “Each for Equal”, drawing from the notion of “Collective Individualism” and calling for action to tackle stereotypes and change perceptions. The key message this theme aims to drive is that we can all make a collective difference in achieving gender equality. Our individual actions, conversations, behaviours and mind-sets impact our journey to achieving gender equality and collectively we can all make a positive difference for women everywhere.

If we are to create equality in the work place, we need to break down stereotypes and tackle perceptions. We can all play a role in this! Talking more openly about the challenges we face, as a business and as individuals, is helpful in not only tackling these issues, but in raising awareness and levelling the playing field. 

As leaders, we are taught to lead by example.  This notion can encourage us to talk about success, strengths and attributes, showing the way, rather than the everyday challenges we all face.  This can leave people with the feeling that their life doesn’t fit into a ‘corporate mould’ and there are few people in the business that they can relate to. This false perception is something we can all play a role in tackling.

Relatable role models are key to breaking down stereotypes and tackling perceptions.  When we aspire to climb the career ladder, we look up and emulate what we see. However, when we don’t see someone who we can relate to, it can impact your sense of belonging and your confidence to bring your authentic self to work.  Our society still carries old-fashioned stereotypes on leadership and we still hear of perceptions that men are primary earners and women are primary carers. We need relatable role models to help break down these perceptions and give people the confidence to tackle such stereotypes, ultimately creating equal opportunities for everyone. 

I am both an earner and a carer, and I want both men and women in our business to recognise that we have many leaders who, like me, aim to fulfil responsibilities at home whilst also having a fulfilling and successful career. We are just not that used to talking about life outside of work, which perhaps gives the impression that to be like us, you must be totally devoted to work!  I love my job and I’m very committed to my career.  But I am also first and foremost a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend. When I became a mum, I wanted to be hands on in raising my kids whilst continuing to have a successful and demanding career. My story or experience is not unique, and we still have work to do in order to change perceptions about life choices you need to make to enable a successful career.

We have so many amazing women in our business. Yet often I hear people say that we lack female role models. It is not unusual to hear comments such as “she works too much” or “she sends emails at the wrong time of the day” or “she doesn’t have children” or “she has too many children (or too many nannies!)”…the list goes on.  It seems to me that we are too limiting in who we are willing to consider as a role model. We are sabotaging ourselves! I have never looked at a single person and thought I want to be exactly like them.  We don’t need to take such a rigid approach to finding a role model.  Like creating a fantasy football team, or baking a cake, it’s about selecting attributes/ingredients that you admire and creating your own goals/recipe for success.

I am so pleased to see so many of you joined in the International Women’s Day celebrations over the last week.  Each of you will have played a part in inspiring someone next to you, without even knowing it. This week, I encourage you all to reach out to a female colleague and thank her for being AMAZING.  And instead of looking for the perfect role model, be the role model yourself. Be relatable. Be real. Be authentic. Polish the crowns of those around you before you shine your own. 

It feels like we could all benefit from some light hearted relief after a tough few weeks, so in the spirit of International Women’s Day,  I’ve prepared a short poem (taking inspiration from none other than Madonna!)

Role model

Ladies that have attitude,

Women that are in their groove,

Don’t just stand there,

Let’s get to it,

Build a career,

There’s nothing to it….Role

Key contact

Stacey Winters

Stacey Winters

Partner

Stacey Winters leads our Aerospace and Defence sector in the UK. Serving our most prominent Aerospace and Defence clients, Stacey has years of experience in supporting both commercial Aerospace and Defence programmes around the world. Her subject matter expertise is focused on regulatory risk and compliance, with a particular focus on export controls, including the US ITAR. Functionally, Stacey leads our Global Export Control and Sanctions practice, and has over 17 years’ experience in standing up compliance programmes for complex organisations with diverse global compliance obligations. Her experience spans organisational and functional design, programme development and management, automation, risk assessments, audits, and investigations, and Government liaison. Stacey also has global responsibility for our Risk Advisory services across the Aerospace and Defence sector. Stacey works with a number of our clients across industries, particularly in the field of sanctions compliance, and has recently supported a number of companies assessing the potential risks and opportunities presented by the lifting of EU sanctions against Iran. Her sanctions experience has focused on EU and US sanctions against Russia, Iran and the US trade embargo on Cuba. Stacey has worked across the media, telecommunications and energy sectors to help clients assess risk and implement effective internal controls when working with these jurisdictions. Stacey is on the editorial board of World ECR and an active member of various trade associations in the UK and the US. In 2008, Stacey was awarded Professional Woman of the Future by the Woman of the Future Awards and Real Business magazine and was named one of the UK’s “35 Women Under 35” by Management Today. She is an advocate for gender equality and enjoys her role as a mentor to inspiring young women. Stacey earned a B.A degree with Honors in Export Management and European Languages from Napier University, Edinburgh, Scotland. Stacey is mother of two boys and an active supporter for breast cancer research charities.