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Posts Tagged ‘International Women’s Day’

The following is a guest blog by Trisha Mentzel who owns B2B Event Management

I often wonder if other people had a clear cut idea after leaving school what they wanted to do. Was your school good in assisting in career choices?

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I went to a small private school where we had no career advice. I only knew at the time that I wanted to further my education and ended up at Teachers Training College as at the time I did not think I would get the A levels to get into University.

As it so happened I could have but do not regret going to the college I attended at Oxford where I met and am still in contact with many students of that time who are close friends.

I feel sorry for students today who leave college or university with debt hanging over them. I remember money was tight being a student but then we did not have very high expectations regarding how we lived or socialised.

After 4 years I left with a B Ed degree which I am most grateful to but never went into teaching as it was then very difficult to get teaching jobs. How much the world has changed!

I do think it is so important to be able if possible to follow your passion, and try and work in that related field. We spend 36+ hours a week working and how depressing it must be not to enjoy or feel that you are making a contribution to your employer or the work you are involved in.

My passion was and still is horses. When I left school you either were bright enough to become a vet or good enough to be a professional rider in various equine sports. The other option was to work as a groom in whatever equine establishment.

I decided there was not enough money in being a groom and preferred to try and get a better paying job and then spend some of that money riding horses for my pleasure.

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How wonderful it is to see all the different types of jobs you can now chose in the equine field. It’s great to have the choice but also with that comes the responsibility to make the right decision.

I must say that my career path was very haphazard not planned but developed due to circumstance such as job redundancies and then having to find another opportunity.

Still I cannot complain as I have enjoyed all the various jobs I have done from working as an au pair/governess in Canada to working in a café/pub while I was trying to get started.

At one point I was an air hostess, (I still love travel) a customer liaison officer training the legal profession on photocopying machines, a customer relations representative for computerised legal accounting type recording systems, leading into marketing roles for IT companies.

I eventually ended up running my own business planning and managing events which I love despite the stress involved.

I just hope that young people starting out today may have a better idea and goal as to what they would like to do in their working life.

But, then again, as my own meandering career path shows maybe it doesn’t matter as much as we think?

As long as we have the chance and opportunity to also follow our passion and dreams, and earn a decent living in the process then at the end of the day maybe it’s more about the journey than the destination?

Trisha Mentzel is an experienced International Marketing and Event Manager who runs B2B Event Management. She specialises in cross-functional marketing, event planning and delivering large corporate conferences, exhibitions, seminars, product launches, road shows and meetings around Europe. Her clients include the British Council and businesses based in the Home Counties and London.

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The following is a guest blog by Trisha Mentzel who owns B2B Event Management

Today is International Women’s Day. I suppose it is very telling of our time that we should have the need for a day to mark women’s achievements and where they are not treated in the same way as men.

It is such a shame that equality is not a given to women all over the world or that they should have to be singled out.

I have most of my life taken for granted that I will be treated with courtesy and be treated as an equal.

I was very lucky growing up as my parents treated my brother and I the same and even now my father is very fair in making sure that we are given parity.

With this upbringing I went out into the word believing the same principles in treating other people whatever gender, race or class the same way how I would like to be treated.

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I know even in our civilised Great Britain this still does not always work and the unfortunate behaviour of some people who think they have power to lord it over others and take advantage of them and treat them in a shameful way.

I admire and I take my hat off to all the women who have achieved so much in their lives, work, time and giving to not only better the cause of women but also to those less fortunate.

Whatever the role of women whether a mother going out to work as well as looking after a family, or the CEO of a large corporation you do a marvellous job of multi-tasking and contributing to society.

May you continue to champion the cause.

Trisha Mentzel is an experienced International Marketing and Event Manager who runs B2B Event Management. She specialises in cross-functional marketing, event planning and delivering large corporate conferences, exhibitions, seminars, product launches, road shows and meetings around Europe. Her clients include the British Council and businesses based in the Home Counties and London.

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A guest post from Margaret Cain who takes a personal look at how the role of women has changed in her lifetime and cautions that there is no room for complacency.

The not-so-swinging sixties

As a teenager temping in offices in the late sixties, I encountered many intelligent, skilled women who, having reached a supervisory position, were then quite legally forced to return to the ranks when they got married, receiving a ‘dowry’ as compensation. As experienced trained secretaries, they were paid much less unskilled clerks, and pigeon-holed into boring, repetitive work with few prospects.

As a result of the Equal Pay and Sex Discrimination Acts in the seventies, women’s choices began to improve immeasurably. Today, helped by better maternity rights and childcare subsidies, women are breaking through the glass ceiling and retaining their positions in the workplace. One think-tank reports that in nearly a third of couples with children, the mother is a breadwinner.

I’m immensely proud of my daughter, who at 26 is passionate about building a successful multilingual online marketing and social media business. For her, having a career is not a stop-gap.

So isn’t the battle for equality over, at least in Western countries? Hasn’t International Women’s Day has become a bit irrelevant, a hang-over from less liberated times?

Well, yes…and no. You see, it concerns me that we may be taking our hard-won rights for granted.

Are we taking our eyes off the ball?

Here are some examples of what I mean. Some are merely trivial annoyances. Others are more worrying trends.

  • The stereotyping begins at birth – probably even earlier with modern antenatal screening. It’s almost impossible to buy a birth congratulations card that doesn’t praise baby girls for being sweet and boys for being active. “Just like a boy” still excuses many an act of young thuggery.
  • When my own children were small, the Early learning Centre had a ‘no guns, no Barbies’ policy. Today the Lego ‘Friends’ range features doe-eyed, skimpily dressed female characters.
  • Girls are sexualised at an early age. The media sends out the message that the most important quality is to be sexy and/or pretty, not clever, active, ambitious or hard-working. Being a pole-dancer has become an empowering career choice.
  • Being ‘well groomed’ used to require a good hair cut and a neat hemline. Now it’s hair extensions, gel nails and a perma tan. In the UK women account for over 90% of all cosmetic procedures; there were 50,122 such procedures last year, a rise of 17%. You can probably guess which was the most popular. The mainstreaming of porn gives adolescent girls an abhorrence of their own body hair.
  • Women suffer from the ‘Cinderella complex’ and Kate Middleton is considered a good role model. Sit around for ten years, and your prince, too, may come along. Brides invest more time, energy and money in a single day than they do in their whole careers. And, yes, I am genuinely mystified why anyone in the 21st century would want to change her surname.
  • Women still choose to take on the emotional ‘housework’, buying the Christmas presents, sending birthday cards etc for ‘his’ family, as well as the actual housework.
  • Many women still hang back, waiting for recognition and promotion at work. (It’s not nice to ask.) They don’t apply for jobs unless they tick all the boxes on the employer’s wish-list.
  • A Chartered Management Institute report recently revealed that a senior female manager will typically earn £425,000 less during her career than her male counterpart. That’s a whole house!
  • The UK still has one of the EU’s highest number of births for girls aged 15-17. If nothing else, this shows a paucity of ambition.
  • Not a single girl in our local sixth form is studying Physics.
  • These days, I take my own reading matter to the hairdresser’s. The women’s magazines are so toxic: “Celebrity gains/loses a few pounds. Is she out of control/anorexic?” Whatever happened to sisterhood?
  • The charity FORWARD estimates that as many as 6,500 girls are at risk of female genital mutilation within the UK every year.
  • Nearly 1 million women in the UK experience at least one incident of domestic abuse each year (British Crime Survey), while two women are killed each week by their partner or ex-partner.
  •  The Everyday Sexism Project (everydaysexism.com) catalogues instances of sexism experienced by women on a day to day basis. Curiously, it’s never short of material to publish.
  • Women such as Caroline Criado-Perez, who stick their heads above the parapet, receive rape and death threats.

The price of freedom is eternal vigilance iwd_square

If you’ve always had rights, it’s easy to take them from granted, but the rights we enjoy today were won by women prepared to take on employers, the State and society well within living memory.

This is why I believe we still need International Women’s Day. Let’s celebrate success but let’s also remember that our rights can be taken away from us far more readily than they were ever won.

“Many from a younger generation feel that all the battles have been won for women, while many feminists from the 1970s know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy.” http://www.internationalwomensday.com

About the author: Margaret Cain is the driving force behind M squared Corporate Communications, a marketing consultancy that helps clients to get their message across with professional copywriting that’s backed by years of marketing experience. Margaret enjoys working with clients to uncover what makes their business special.

+44 (0)118 969 9389 | margaret@m2cc.co.uk | Connect on LinkedIn

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Ute introduces Catriona Stewart from Oxfam, London

Ute introduces Catriona Stewart from Oxfam, London

The following is a guest post from Mary Fraser/Fraser HR:

What if you could make a difference?
What if you could help other women in business?
What if you could make a difference by helping other women in business?
What difference could that make?

Success Network’s International Women’s Day supported Oxfam’s new women’s  initiative this year. Well, of course, you know that if you were there and you may recall that we raised £200 in our raffle.

Recently we met up with Ian O’Reilly, Oxfam’s Community Fundraiser South East to find out more about the various projects that Oxfam fund.  As women in business, we were particularly interested to learn about the difference our /your fundraising efforts could make specifically for women.  Ian shared a story about a particular microfinance project and a lady called Le Thi Ban in South Vietnam.

See how our funding may have made a difference to her and families like hers with help from Oxfam.

Thank you for making a difference.  If you haven’t received a pat on the back today, please accept this one from us.

Mary Fraser, Catherine Sutton and Ute Wieczorek-King

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7 March 2012 by Alison Crown Photography

7 March 2012, Speakers & Sponsors - by Alison Crown Photography

International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March has been marked by women’s groups around the world for over 100 years in honour of the day, in 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York demanding better pay, shorter hours and voting rights.

International Women’s Day is a day that inspires women everywhere to achieve their full potential whilst celebrating major achievements in the struggle for equality, justice and peace. Recognised by the United Nations, some countries even have a national holiday on 8 March!

Significant progress and change has been achieved in society’s attitude to women’s equality, but despite offering women more choices than they may have had two or three decades ago, this special event is by no means obsolete.

Almost 100 years since winning the right to vote, British women too often still earn less than men in comparable jobs. They climb more slowly up the company ladder too, and usually not as high, and they’re less likely to consider self employment.

Indeed only 36.5 per cent of women felt they had the skills to start a business in 2009, compared with 52.5 per cent of men. Research in Scotland has also shown that men are 72 per cent more likely than women to be the owner or manager of an entrepreneurial business over three-and-a-half years old.

Although more than a million women are now self-employed and there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of self-employed women since 2000, women are still facing barriers that can prevent them from achieving long-term success.

In 2004, Aurora was commissioned by the DTI’s Small Business Service to identify women’s needs when starting and growing a business. Those needs include knowledge about finance, and access to women-owned business networks and successful female business-owner role models.

Although the number of women-owned networks has been on the increase, there has been a knock-on effect of the recent economic situation. Many small businesses seem to need to be more competitive and innovative than ever. To succeed in this economy, it helps for women to have a strong mindset, lots of confidence and a vision to overcome additional barriers, such as lack of funds, visibility and time and, frequently, self-belief.

All these, combined with having too much competition or too much to juggle, can cause real stress, as can the guilt many women experience when they are not able to give the business or their family the quality time they feel they deserve.

International Women’s Day is the one day in the year where women can come together to celebrate their own personal and professional achievements as well as women’s general achievements in the last 100 years.

For many women, particularly the women who attend Success Network’s International Women’s Day event every year, it is also a good opportunity to inspire and support each other to aim higher, without crumbling under the pressure.

*Research and figures provided by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2010, Labour Market Statistics, October 2011, UN and TUC websites as well as www.internationalwomensday.com

 

About the Authors:

Ute Wieczorek-King, business coach and founder/owner of Success Network – www.successnetwork.org.uk

Catherine Osborn, freelance writer – www.catherineosborn.com, author of https://successnetwork.wordpress.com/2011/02/02/the-offside-rule-and-why-international-womens-day-is-as-important-now-as-it-was-100-years-ago/

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I received a personal email invitation from Sir John Madejski (a successful Reading businessman) to attend a seminar about marketing and social networking at the Madejski Stadium (home of the Reading football club).

So I accepted. After all, it was free, and sitting at the back could do no harm, and I was intrigued to see how much they really knew about social media. I saw from the website I signed up from that it was hosted by 107.fm, the local radio station associated with the Royals (football club), so I expected some promotional activity for radio advertising.

They were very clever. Sir John himself was there, pressing the flesh, graciously meeting everyone as they came in. They’d got one of the 107.fm presenters in, so the maitre-d was suitably slick, through reading from the presenter’s profiles was a bit stilted. The first presenter was a successful young sales marketer who had recently written a book, and after flinging out some suitably spell-binding statistics of all his successes (undoubtedly true), he gave an entertaining and thought-provoking (for the non-marketing suits) presentation based on its contents.

Then an imposing marketing man from 107.fm stood up, and an air of expectation bristled around the room. Apparently he was well known amongst the majority of the businessmen there (ladies, it’s another world when it comes to male networking!). He started his presentation with boring powerpoint slides and a mouth full of jargon (does this really impress anyone?), and after about five minutes of this, without mentioning social media once, he launched into the benefits of radio advertising.

I had been expecting this from the beginning. After all, 107.fm was hosting the show, and its logos were plastered all over the place. But where was the social networking information? A tiny mention about their Twitter account, and an app that allowed interaction with a live radio programme, and that was it!

After a dismal presentation by Debra Mann about the various packages they had to offer (smacking of desperation to fill air time), we adjourned for coffee and networking. I asked people what was their purpose for coming to the event, and the answers were: social networking information and networking – well, at least they got one of those! Interestingly, nothing about radio advertising, even though that was at least 80% of what was forced down their throats.

So the moral of the story is, if it’s free, it’s probably rubbish. This is a sad situation, but you do pay for what you get. So much is available on the net now for free that people expect to pay nothing, and any price put on an event results in wrinkled noses.

So paying £30 to attend an absolutely superb International Women’s Day event, hosted by Success Network, was money well spent! Stimulating speakers, inviting venue, scrumptious food, friendly clientele and excellent networking prospects, what incredible value! Sir John – you’ve nothing in comparison.

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Lincolnshire women dispelling the myth that firefighting is for men only

After ten years of coaching and facilitating business club meetings, I can’t help noticing that many female business owners seem to come across similar obstacles or barriers in business.

I meet many highly talented women, whose businesses have a great deal of potential, who seem to be holding themselves back. This may well be for personal reasons and family circumstances- balancing family demands and a business is hard work after all, and I know from my personal experience that we may not want to make too many sacrifices.

But since running a business seems to have got more demanding in these economic times, the last thing you want is to feel unsure whether you have the confidence or the resources you need to secure and maintain your place against potentially fierce competition.

With many new start-ups springing up all over the place, doing business in 2012 may require each of us to stand out more than we used to, to get noticed, stay visible and become the highly trusted business partner that our clients will buy into and stay loyal to.

You don’t want to be held back by barriers, such as doubt in your ability to grow or to access the funds you need to develop the business. You don’t want to be afraid of success or failure or feel overwhelmed because you simply have too much to do.

We have assembled a fantastic group of speakers for our International Women’s Day event on 7 March – women like you and me – who know all the challenges and barriers and who may have the answers for what you do want!

  • Helen Hughes, Business Manager from RBS – “Funding for Growth or Change- the Reality”
  • Jayne Reddyhoff – “How to make time for growth in your business and space for more enjoyment”
  • Sue Roberts- “Your Inner Success Conflict”
  • Mary Fraser & Ute Wieczorek-King- “Getting noticed for all the right reasons”
  • Mell Sheppard & Julie Farrell, two lovely Toastmasters with their entertaining talk  “Men are from Mars and women are from ….. Maidenhead Speakers’ Club”

With a raffle for Oxfam and raffle prizes that include 3 months membership at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre, a night at the Bird in Hand Hotel, Tea for Two at the Christopher Hotel in Eton, A Magnum of Champagne,  a framed picture, eBooks and perfume, this will be an event not to be missed!

Especially as you will also come away with lots of valuable connections in our facilitated networking sessions, including our very own SLOW Speed Networking!

To see more details or to book your place, please visit this link: http://www.successnetwork.org.uk/events/international-womens-day/iwd-2012/

Photo credit: Lincolnshire Prepared

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