8 March 2019 0
International Women’s Day is an important day for inspiration and change - we spoke to our director Kathie Wilcox about what it means to her.
International Women’s Day (which takes place on Friday 8 March this year) provides an important platform to showcase commitment to women’s equality.
The day is celebrated and supported throughout the world by governments, educational institutions, community groups, women’s networks, charities and non-for-profit bodies, the media and many more.
Each year, there is a different theme for International Women’s Day – in 2019 the campaign is #BalanceforBetter, a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.
IWD is an important day for inspiration and change – we spoke to our director Kathie Wilcox about what it means to her, what we can do to drive gender balance and how other women have inspired her.
International Women’s Day provides a brilliant opportunity to celebrate and champion women who are achieving great things – no matter what their age, walk of life or background. It also provides a platform to challenge and spark debate about gender inequality. The past year has seen tremendous momentum behind the women’s equality movement with campaigns like #TimesUp and #MeToo generating headlines right around the world. IWD enables us to build on this increased profile – encouraging women to speak out against harassment and discrimination and empowering women everywhere to achieve their true potential.
I’m a firm believer that driving gender balance has to start young, at both home and school. It’s not a women’s issue; it’s a family issue, an education issue and a community issue… long before it becomes a business issue. Mums, Dads, extended families and teachers can all play a pivotal role in challenging stereotypes and celebrating women’s achievements – not just with, and for, girls but boys as well. It’s during the formative years that children shape their views of the world and their place in it.
As a mum to two young girls (aged 9 and 11), I’m passionate about their right to achieve anything they put their minds to; in school, in their social lives and ultimately in their careers. Thankfully, I’d describe Dad / Mr Wilcox as a thoroughly modern feminist too! It’s important to both of us that the girls see our careers are equally important and rewarding and that we genuinely share the responsibilities of parenting and family life. Through films, books and dinner table chat we both encourage them to notice and be inspired by positive female role models, everyone from Serena Williams to Star Wars heroine Rey.
My mum undoubtedly inspired me from a young age – working full-time as a teacher whilst juggling three children, one with special needs, she showed me first-hand that women can be simultaneously caring, tough, resilient and successful in their own right, no matter what the challenges. Mum wasn’t especially career-focused but to my mind she achieved so much, whilst always being there for me. As a shy youngster, Mum nurtured me to succeed – suggesting I take up drama to develop my confidence, encouraging me to challenge myself academically, and supporting me to grasp opportunities and take on challenges outside of my comfort zone, which definitely helped positively shape my view of the world and my potential.
The best thing about my job is undoubtedly the people I work with and the diversity of the role. We spend so many of our waking hours at work that it’s really important to me that I’m motivated by the team around me and the job in hand. No two days are ever the same at NGI Solutions and I’m challenged by my new leadership role and the huge opportunity to grow our research, marketing and PR business in order to deliver ‘profit for purpose’ – valuable income which is reinvested in NGI’s work to promote NewcastleGateshead and drive economic growth for the region.
It’s also great to work for an organisation with lots of talented women in leadership roles, including our chief executive Sarah Stewart; it’s a fast-paced but creative, supportive and flexible environment for women of all ages to develop and succeed.
Never let anyone tell you what you’re capable of.
As a chronic self-doubter and imposter syndrome sufferer, I have enough of a job telling myself what I can achieve but this advice has always stuck with me. It’s really empowering to consciously decide and acknowledge that no-one else can dictate your limits. It’s equally rewarding to encourage and support other women to believe this of themselves.
Living at the coast I love to walk by the beach and eat out as much as time, and budget allows, and in the past year, I’ve also discovered a newfound love of spinning – which helps with working off the fine food, easing stress and building my fitness levels all in one go! But for the most part, if I’m not at work or playing chauffeur to my gymnastics and dance obsessed children, I am happiest with a glass a wine, a cat in my lap and Pinterest on my iPad. Not particularly inspirational on International Women’s Day I admit, but it’s the downtime that keeps me sane!
IWD is celebrated in many ways throughout the world – from large international events through to local activities. For more information on how you can get involved, visit: www.internationalwomensday.com/
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