A year ago today on International Women’s Day, I set out three pledges to encourage and support female Co-Members who work at REED, they are:
One: I pledge to introduce talks, seminars and webinars once a quarter, which will be run by successful women, to encourage and inspire women in the business.
Two: I pledge to grow and sustain a female mentoring system to provide women who work at REED with a system of support and advice.
Three: I pledge that REED will seek to have women make up 50% of its senior leadership team over the next 3-5 years. They will be there because they are good at their jobs.
REED is committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workforce by recognising and understanding each individual’s unique differences and celebrating these within the workplace. Valuing diversity has allowed us to create a workplace where REED Co-Members can thrive, and really progress in their career. Our ‘Women in Leadership’ programme is just one of the ways we’re doing this.
We’ve held two outstanding leadership talks with inspiring business leaders; Anita Dougall and Nina Bhatia. Their insights were filmed and shared with the business and are both summarised on my blog. REED Co-Members have been encouraged by their ideas and experiences. Our next event will be with Esther O’Callaghan OBE, Founder and Executive Chair at Thrive Youth Trust (OPERA), a charity that helps disadvantaged young people into employment by harnessing the expertise of recruitment companies in the UK. We have two further speakers lined-up.
Our ‘Women in Leadership’ mentoring programme is now a group-wide initiative, with more than 40 successful mentoring partnerships. We have called on senior men and women at REED to mentor and sponsor talented women within our organisation, which I believe is critical for workplace equality. The inaugural cohort received the book ‘Lean In’ by Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, and a guide to Lean in Circles as Mentorship Resources which draws on Sheryl’s own experience of working in some of the world’s most successful companies. This looks at what women can do to help themselves and Sandberg rightfully looks forward to the day when there won’t be ‘women leaders’, simply leaders.
2018 also marked the 100-year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which first gave women the right to vote. REED held its first live ‘Women in Leadership’ Debate at Millbank Tower in London. The discussion concentrated on the key issues business faces in recruiting more women into leadership positions. The key speakers were:
- Louise Cooper – Financial analyst and commentator
- Alison Platt – Chief Executive of Countrywide
- Emma Maslen – Technology Industry Leader
- Jagdeep Rai – Head of Corporate Banking at Barclays
- Neil Morling – Chief Financial Officer
- Dr Steve Bull – Chartered Psychologist, speaker, author and ‘high performance’ consultant
The event was attended by our Women in Leadership delegates as well as valued customers. We received positive feedback from attendees about the insights they gained from the inspiring panel discussion, as well as from the opportunity to network with other professionals.
REED’s ‘Women in Leadership’ programme is now a group wide initiative with dedicated resource pages hosting a range of articles, podcasts, videos and reading recommendations that provide a valuable insight into the issues and opportunities women face in the workplace. Our Reed Technology division has also been supporting TechSheCan UK following our pledge last year, educating young women about careers in Technology and empowering Schools with resources.
In 2018, REED pledged towards the government initiative ‘Working Forward’, a campaign to support pregnant women and new parents in the workplace. This initiative has allowed us to join a community sharing tips, advice and knowledge to make experiences better for pregnant women and new parents at work. Furthermore, REED Partnered with Tommy’s ‘Pregnancy at Work’ Scheme which provides 24/7 specialist advice from Midwives to pregnant women, their partners, family members and friends.
REED is also working towards our target of 50% women in senior leadership positions within the next 3-5 years, and tracking our progress. At REED we believe in #BalanceforBetter, and hope that in time people of every gender can pursue their dreams without bias or other barriers holding them back. REED will continue to actively support gender equality by empowering capable and ambitious women throughout our organisation.
This International Women’s Day 2019, I encourage REED Co-Members to motivate others by putting your hands out and STRIKING THE #BalanceforBetter POSE. Post your #IWD2019 message on social media with your “hands out” balance pose for a strong call-to-action for others to also help forge a #BalanceforBetter.