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Four Ways Sheffield Haworth is Celebrating International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a powerful annual reminder to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere.

Four Ways Sheffield Haworth is Celebrating International Women’s Day

By Sam Wallace, Managing Director and Head of the DEI Gender Equity Group, Sheffield Haworth

International Women’s Day is a powerful annual reminder to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere. It’s also a reminder of the work that needs to continue, building our communities with greater equity and inclusion. This could be by supporting women suffering hard times or helping women realise their potential.

Helping people to realise their potential is one of Sheffield Haworth’s guiding principles and I’m proud to showcase the work from the DEI Gender Equity team in support of this.  

As part of Sheffield Haworth’s commitment to supporting and promoting diversity, the Gender Equity Group is one of five teams within our Global DEI Committee.  Our other workstreams include Ethnicity, Physical Impairment, Neurodiversity and LGBTQ+. We are an internal group of Sheffield Haworth employees from all of our global offices who get together via Microsoft Teams every three weeks to share insights and advice on how to promote more diverse talent to our various global clients.

As Executive Search leaders, we work on some of the most compelling executive positions around the world. If we’re not intentionally raising up women and getting them in front of our clients, we’re missing an opportunity. This is important every day, so we’re shining a light on it in support of International Women’s Day throughout the month of March by coordinating and promoting several initiatives that I’m keen to shout about.

Showcasing female artists in Australia

On March 14th, Sheffield Haworth is hosting an event in Sydney for talented, emerging female artists. Titled “Connecting Women in Business and Art”, the event will feature three of the country’s most exciting female artists in conversation with Gaibrielle Germanos and Anne Ryan.

Gaibrielle is a financial services professional and board advisor who is also Director of 3:33 Art Projects, a corporate art curator. Anne is Curator of Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

This event was a great initiative from one of the Australian members of the DEI Gender Equity Group to bring together clients and candidates in a relaxed networking environment that also supports women in the arts. The three artists whose work is being showcased are Clara Adolphs, Amber Boardman, and Peta Minnici.

Helping women get back into work

In London, our team is donating second hand professional clothing to the charity Smart Works. This charity works with women who have been referred to them by Job Centres, mental health charities, women’s refuges, homeless shelters, the prison service, care service, and youth organisations. It provides coaching and clothing for interviews, offering great support for those who might not have access to the appropriate attire.

Shoes, suits and accessories can all be recycled in this way, and Smart Works says that 62% of the women they coach go on to find work. We know how hard it can be for women to get back into the workplace at all levels. We also know that it has been especially hard for many women who lost work or had to prioritise other responsibilities during the pandemic, so 62% is a really great success rate.

Volunteering for women’s charities

All Sheffield Haworth employees get two days per year for volunteering to give back to the community that they can spread out across the year or use all at once. Last month, for example, some of our team in New York volunteered to help the charity Women In Need (WIN) to do mock interviews.  

Throughout March we’ll be encouraging our team around the world to volunteer a little of their time for women’s charities in a similar way, knowing that even the smallest contribution can make all the difference. We’ll share some of our experiences throughout the month.

I’d encourage you to do the same – either individually or with your employees. There are a ton of great women’s charities out there who deserve support, so the more we can all do, the better. If it helps, consider that the UN’s theme for International Women’s Day this year is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, while the official International Women’s Day theme for 2022 is #BreakTheBias.

Discussing the Great Realisation and what it means for women

Lastly, I’ll be moderating a webinar panel hosted by UPWARD – the global network for accelerating the advancement of executive women – talking with several female leaders about what we’re calling the “Great Realisation”.

There’s been a lot of talk – and an awful lot written – about the Great Resignation. But far from being a liberating, freeing experience, for many leaving work was forced upon them. Some women had to prioritise family commitments. Others were let go. Now, many will struggle to get back into work. This webinar aims to delve a little deeper into what’s really going on, what we might learn from that, and how we might be able to help some of those who need it.  

The webinar has been organised by UPWARD’s West Coast US chapters and takes place at midday Pacific Time on March 30th although the invitation is global for anyone who would like to attend. You can check out the details here.

Let’s not forget that diversity is important

Increasing diverse representation doesn’t happen accidentally. It requires thought, effort, and a commitment to make it happen.   

We know that to engage female talent it takes typically about a third more attempts at outreach or points of contact with an individual to get them through the process. If we’re not intentional about it, if we as search professionals don’t invest the time, we miss the opportunity to address the gender disparity in executive roles.

I hope you can find time to celebrate International Women’s Day. Thank that inspirational female leader who is paving the way, support women in need in your community, or even to try a new way to promote diversity in your organisation.