Empowering Women in Business. IWD 2018.

International Women’s Day (IWD) now more than ever, is a movement to press forward and progress gender equality. The #PressForProgress motivates and unites friends, colleagues and communities to act and be gender inclusive.  As a successful entrepreneur and co-Founder of Pearl & Pear, Sarah Kay talks about her views from a woman in business’ perspective. We focus on modern day IWD as well as the ethos of businesses.

Women around the world continue to fight for improved rights, yet we’re still quite far off, especially when it comes to areas such as gender equality and equal pay. How does this impact you being a woman in business?

At times, it can definitely feel that you’re a woman in a man’s world especially when you walk into a boardroom. I do think this is a shame but at the same time I see it from a few angles – a board made up only of men provides me with an environment where I can learn. Naturally men are more assertive when it comes to business and less emotional, which I think can be great qualities to adopt. However I do also feel passionately about women being supported to be able to thrive in the business world.

I make it my mission to support women in the industry. This is achieved by making myself available as a mentor. Through this I can share my experiences, I lecture, train, listen and promote women. I love nothing more than to see women growing in confidence and smashing business goals. As a business owner it’s important to provide an environment where women can grow. Whether that’s providing flexi-time to work around children, training to grow and understand how to be a good manager or just being there to listen and support.

To me equal pay is obvious and nowadays I don’t think should be an issue and it’s very sad that it is. In any of my businesses my employees are paid based on their experience and performance not their gender. I simply don’t understand why that isn’t the case in all companies.

The founder of the Women in Leadership publication shares her thoughts on social media being such a powerful tool. What are your thoughts on expressing views and building campaigns across social media apps and networks for businesses in the modern day.

Social media plays a huge part in the development of businesses nowadays – it gives small businesses especially, a voice and it’s an incredible, mainly free, platform. I think particularly for those selling a product or personality it’s brilliant. I use it as a way to express what we are thinking as a business as well as targeting people that we know will be interested in seeing those posts. It’s a lot of fun, very addictive, fascinating when it comes to the stats and a great marketing tool.

International Women’s Day (IWD) talks about supporting other women, celebrating successes within business and everyday life. The events industry must be hugely motivating as you’re surrounded by successful women in business.

The events industry is very female focussed with a lot more businesses being run by women than many other industries I know. We still see the senior teams being much more male heavy however I believe this is changing over time. There are hugely inspiring women at all levels- at the top people like Sarah Hammond at Rhubarb and Liz Morgan at HRP. These ladies are real pillars of the events community. We also see serious talent within the younger women who are rising up in the ranks, being promoted and flying. I feel so proud when I see women who were former interns of mine doing so well and employees who started in junior roles becoming directors and MDs. I do wish though that there were more men on the events courses – so many of the graduates and current students are female and I think it’s a shame to lose the mix.

There’s an incredible number of events taking place across London, and worldwide, to celebrate IWD. What are your top tips for those who’d like to host their very own ‘girl power’ party this weekend?

I think just focus on what you love and your core values. Women can be very supportive, very organised and love attention to detail. That along with the feminine touch when applied to events is a winning combination. For anyone who wants to go all out girly then we’d definitely recommend getting inspiration from events such as Boss Babes Brunch or the French Sole Collection Launch as they’re unashamedly and totally feminine which we do love!

Fierce IWD events to attend!

Women of the World Festival 2018

Featuring a killer line-up, these inspirational ladies champion everything that’s great in the world of women. Expect a programme of discussion, debate, performances and activism. The weekend celebrates female achievements and brings the girl power out in everyone!

Location: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Rd, London, SE1 8XX

Tickets: £30 Day Pass, £80 Weekend Pass. Book here.

Women in Focus Festival

A two day inspirational festival celebrating IWD. The weekend includes exhibitions, poetry readings, workshops, talks and music. The aim is to champion and empower women (of course!). There’s even in the chance to customise your own balaclava. As well as see Teresa Witz’s portraits of women in sport or attend a Feminism in Theatre class.

Location: Poplar Union, 2 Cotall Street, Poplar, London, E14 6TL

Tickets: Free! Book here.

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