It’s now some time since International Women’s Day, which is certainly not the only day for raising awareness and recognising that there is much still to be done to address the 3 E’s I will talk about in this post:
Equality – being equal in status, rights, or opportunities
Equity – allocating the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome
Enterprise – a project or undertaking, in this case starting or growing businesses which has significant economic potential if equality and equity are addressed effectively.
You may be wondering why I’m writing about this in my blog which usually covers topics such as coaching, development, and mindfulness. Well, read on…
These compelling (and some shocking) statistics help to demonstrate how important and urgent this is:
- It will now be 132 years until gender equality will be achieved – up from 99.5 years in 2021 (World Economic Forum)
- Only 23% of Scotland’s employer-businesses are women owned (Small Business Scotland Survey 2021)
- Up to £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as UK men (Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship 2019)
I am encouraged to some degree by the current drive for action and change, as well as feeling frustrated, especially as things slipped back in many areas due to the pandemic.
Being part of it
Women’s Enterprise Scotland (WES) has been at the forefront of the drive to close the gender gap in enterprise participation for 11 years. Their mission is to unlock the missing billions of economic potential caused by systemic barriers to entrepreneurship experienced by women. WES provides gender-informed research, a platform for political advocacy and policy engagement, as well as practical support to empower women to pursue entrepreneurship. There is significant potential to provide (for example) access to funding, and to address equity – allocating the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
I am proud to be a WES Ambassador – a role model for women and girls to encourage and inspire them to start and grow their businesses. So far this year I have had opportunities including speaking to Business Studies students at Heriot Watt, training days with WES, and going through media training as part of STV’s Expert Voices. As Ambassadors we proactively seek out opportunities to raise awareness, and are also regularly invited to take part in and take part in research and panels with a variety of organisations, sessions with the Scottish Government, as well as developing our own knowledge in areas like diversity and inclusion, gender bias, and commercial awareness. As a long-term carer, I also see benefit in spreading the message that ‘if I can grow a successful business, you can too’.
Who inspires me?
I’m a mum to two grown-up kids, and they are my greatest inspiration for being a WES Ambassador. I want to see more significant change in their lifetime. I believe the next generation is living in a unique time where there are many ways to pursue what they love and are most passionate about, with greater opportunities to build their own business or create a portfolio of work (for example a part-time job and a part-time business), as well as social enterprises to directly address many of the challenges we see in the world today. With this, I believe, will come significant opportunities for enterprise participation.
I believe we owe it to them to up-the-ante on creating a more equal and equitable world, and to encourage them to reach their economic potential.
My commitment in my work
As a coach, author, speaker, and trainer, I am passionate about supporting people to dig deep and find clarity, confidence, and unlock their full potential. Most of my clients are women, and it’s incredible to see them light up when they realise what freedom and choice they actually have, and that it’s possible to make changes to live a life which is aligned with who they are and how they want to be in the world. My heart beats a little bit faster every time when they emerge with confidence, conviction, and self-leadership. And they usually have a big beaming smile on their face too!
A lot of my clients are leaders, entrepreneurs, coaches, and therapists – or aspiring to be – and I am committed to continue supporting them so that the ripple effect of their work directly contributes to the critical positive change which I have described here. I’m also excited to be working with several women who are embarking on a later stage of their career, doing it their way and bringing their valuable experience and passion to create a world which I would be proud to hand over to the next generation. And it counts just as much today – these changes are long overdue.
What is your commitment? How are you contributing to a more equal and equitable world?