At Ethical Power, we believe that promoting gender equality is not just a matter of social justice, but also a smart business strategy. That’s why we have reviewed and updated our people policies to better reflect women’s wellbeing in the workplace. We also offer flexible work arrangements, such as remote work and flexible schedules, to accommodate the diverse needs of our employees.
We recognize that women often face unique challenges in the workplace, such as pay gaps, unconscious bias, and lack of representation in leadership positions. We are proud to have talented women at all levels across the business and to be able to report no gender pay gap.
We will continue to look for ways to create a more inclusive and supportive work environment for all employees introducing guidance, training and reasonable adjustments where applicable.
To celebrate International Women’s History Month, we are hosting a panel interview with some of our employees to discuss their experiences as women in the workplace.
Welcome to our panellists: Maddie Harmer, HR Manager; Reita Koci, Tendering & Procurement Manager; Rosy Painter, PA to the company CEO; Amy Robson-Elliot, Training Coordinator and Nareece Thomas, Client Manager.
The first questions is a difficult one as it is about your personal experience: Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?
[Reita Koci]: I do not have a personal experience to drawn upon, however, it is known that discrimination can be pervasive in many industries, and women may face challenges in obtaining leadership positions, equal pay, and opportunities for advancement. I believe that overcoming these barriers can require a combination of strategies, including seeking out supportive mentors, building a strong network, and advocating for oneself.
[Rosy Painter]: I completely agree. I have faced barriers both by male and female co-workers. I know what I am good at, so for me it was just a case of ignoring the comments and actions by others and moving forward in my own way. But for those who aren’t as strong or confident, it is a struggle. I now try to ensure I am encouraging of others, and actively look to support others.
In your opinion, what is the most significant achievement of the women’s movement in the last decade, and what still needs to be done?
[Maddie Harmer] I think the most significant achievement is the increased awareness and conversations about gender equality and the need for representation of women in all areas of life. However, there is still a long way to go in terms of equal pay, reproductive rights, and combating gender-based violence.
[Amy Robson-Elliot] Even though we’ve come such a long way providing access to education and opening jobs to both males and females, there are still areas where there is a long way to go. Looking at my daughter and the opportunities she had, I see that there is a huge gap between the support and rewards given to young girls and boys. I hope that more focus can be given to making sure that we embrace equity at those early stages of our children’s development – that will allow them to live in a better more equitable world.
Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?
[Maddie Harmer] First of all, it brings different perspectives, ideas, and experiences to the table, which can lead to more innovative solutions and better decision-making.
[Amy Robson-Elliot] Absolutely. It’s also important that we build a well-rounded workforce so that we don’t become singular and exclusive.
With an ever-increasing diversity around the workplace, what can we do to support equity?
[Nareece Thomas] I think it comes down to acknowledgement, understanding and communication. We need to drive awareness and have open discussions within the workplace about our differences and what support is needed.
[Amy] Yes, we ought to look at implementing talent identification and development programmes for protected characteristic groups and to ensure when promotions are available that all have a fair and equal opportunity.
Do you think women’s leadership styles differ from men’s?
[Rosy Painter] 100% different! The women leaders I have worked with see things with empathy, on the whole, and work extremely hard to break down barriers and stereotypes of who they are and how they got to their positions, as well as supporting their teams and often running households and family too.
[Reita Koci] Women leaders can often build and maintain relationships better and bring a more collaborative approach to problem-solving, too.
Which inspirational women do you admire the most?
[Amy Robson-Elliot] I admire the women making it in business, such as Trinny Woodall or Holly Tucker who started her business from home while looking after her newborn child, built her career and now continues to support female entrepreneurs. I’m also inspired by the determination and attitude of women in sports, e.g. Tori James who was the first Welsh woman to climb Everest. She’s faced many challenges due to being a woman even in terms of getting sponsorship, but she persisted and achieved her dream.
[Nareece Thomas]: For me, it’s the women who surround me every day – my mother, my female work colleagues, and my friends. All triumphing with their own careers and aspirations.
What is the most important message you want to send out to young women thinking about their careers?
[Nareece Thomas] As times are changing and industries are evolving, I would encourage young women to think about their interests and career desires more than if the industry is male dominated. Follow thorough all of your decisions with confidence and believe that you can achieve what ever you set your mind to regardless of others opinions!
[Reita Koci] My message to the young women is to believe in themselves and their abilities, and not be afraid to pursue their passions and ambitions. Women have made significant progress in many fields, but there is still work to be done to promote gender equality and overcome barriers to success.
[Rosy Painter] I mentor 14-year-old female students who need support in the career options, through Empowering Girls Exeter. It’s so refreshing to have conversations with young people and encourage them to do whatever they want to do, introducing new industries and job roles they didn’t even know existed. For me, supporting them to think bigger and have more confidence in themselves is one of the key elements of the programme. They are our future, they need to know they can achieve anything if they put their mind to it!
[Maddie Harmer] Definitely, the most important message for young women thinking about their careers is to believe in themselves, pursue their passions, and not be afraid to speak up and advocate for themselves. With hard work and determination, anything is possible.