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This International Women's Day, pledge for parity

In addition to pledging for equality, we will look at women making waves in male dominated sectors.

Safeera Sarjoo
16th March 2016
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International Women’s Day excites us on the editorial desk. It gives us the chance to reflect and look at progress being made by women across various industries. This year’s theme is gender parity which to some extent, we can’t believe is still an issue within the working world.

Even though we have recognised the value that women bring to the social, economic and political landscapes, equality has slowed down in a number of places.

According to the International Women’s Day website, ‘the World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global parity.’ That’s another 79 years. That’s not the most shocking fact though. It turns out that last year ‘they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.’

With a number of partners supporting this year’s campaign, I personally have pledged to challenge conscious and unconscious bias in a bid to achieving true parity. A lot of change has to come from individuals and organisations. This isn’t a man made solution we can purchase and install. It’s a change of mindset and a commitment to making a difference.

The Stemettes have been committed to getting young girls interested in STEM subjects from the start and run regular activities and events up and down the UK. To celebrate IWD 2016, they have decided to host a hackathon where 100 girls will be building their own app.

Even here at Training and Courses I am proud to see that women are not only in roles that are normally dominated by men, they are in leadership positions. It’s one of the reasons why I think we excel at what we do as the company focuses on the individual’s talents and strengths, rather than their gender.

We’ve also noticed that despite there being a long way to go to truly achieving equality and dispelling archaic attitudes about women, there are waves being made in a number of sectors by women who are worth shouting about.

Tracy Chou, a software engineer at Pinterest works on a mix of product, platform and infrastructure projects. She was struck at how Pinterest regarded her as an engineer first, rather than a female engineer. Speaking to Business Insider she said, ‘People even called me a unicorn to my face. It was really nice to come here and not have that gender modifier in front of who I am.’

Sticking with the STEM subjects, we should also be paying attention to Nina Tandon, who came to my attention during the International Day of Women and Girls in Science. Co-founder of Epibone, she is looking to create human bone using stem cells. Currently in animal studies, Epibone hopes to move on to human pilot tests this year.

When we think about male dominated industries, gastronomy doesn’t always spring to mind. However when you think about Michelin chefs and even chefs who have ventured into the mainstream, you come to realise this too is a male dominated area. Shelina Permalloo who won Masterchef has gone on to work in Michelin Restaurants and is set to open her restaurant in Southampton this year.

Though Abigail Johnson was born into the right family – she’s the granddaughter of the founder of Fidelity Investments, she could have very easily pursued interests away from finance. However as an investment advisor, analysts have speculated that she is being positioned to run the whole company one day – and it’s not because of her connection. Johnson has more than earned her stripes with an MBA from Harvard and has even worked her way up in the company as a customer service rep, an analyst and an equity portfolio manager before progressing on to her first executive position. Hard work truly does pay off.

Finally, Jessica Meir and three other female NASA astronauts are all preparing to go Mars. Even though this will take place in the next 15 years, it is a mission that no man has yet attempted. Having already endured tough training such as flying T-38 supersonic jets to mastering tasks under 40 feet of water, these women are something to behold. Even more exciting is that for the first time, NASA’s class of astronauts is 50 percent female – a good sign that gender parity isn’t impossible.

 

If you’ve been inspired then why start your search for a new, exciting career with Training and Courses?

To find out more about this year’s International Women’s Day, visit their website.

 

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