Today is International Women’s Day, and here at cazden we wanted to celebrate by speaking with some inspiring women we know to share their wisdom and story with you.
Below is our audio blog link to our chat with Issy Urquhart, Craneware’s Chief People Officer.
We also spoke with Shahida Imani, Director of Imani Financial Solutions.
Shahida has a wealth of experience within the Scottish technology space. A CIMA qualified accountant, her engagements have included the technology, software and renewable energy industries predominantly for emerging venture capital backed companies.
She has extensive experience of the financial, operational and commercial requirements within a business and supporting major strategic initiatives but also ensuring that robust scalable financial systems and processes are in place to support rapidly growing businesses.
Press for progress is the hashtag being used to promote International Women’s Day to get people talking about how society needs to push further for women.
- How Shahida, would you like to see press for progress put in to practice?
I work in the entrepreneurial tech sector and feel that it is perhaps more progressive when it comes to gender parity. However, there will always be room for improvement and I would like to see leaders think and act in a more gender inclusive manner and appreciate the economic value of women’s participation at all levels in a business. Whilst new legislation coming into force will force larger organisations to report on gender pay gap, I don’t think this is going far enough. We need to better understand differential of the number of jobs applied for by gender and the success rates. Only then will we begin to get the bigger picture.
Equally, It is well known that men are promoted for their potential where women are more likely to be considered for what they have achieved and only until we empower women to believe in themselves will we begin to see a visible change in the dynamics of gender equality in the workplace.
- What will you do to press for progress?
I do whatever I can to empower the people I work with, helping build confidence and skills/knowledge, regardless of gender. However, I do support and mentor women more in this respect as I often am surprised at the lack of confidence they have in themselves lack confidence in themselves and try to work with them on building this. I hope by doing this, it inspires them to challenge the gender stereotypes and bias.
- Have you had any gender related challenges rising to the level you are at now? Can you tell us about them?
Unfortunately, I have to say I have, perhaps to a lesser extent to some of the most horrendous stories I have heard through the #metoo campaign. Whilst I reported the sexually inappropriate behaviour of a consultant to my superiors I soon found myself excluded from key aspects of my role and was ultimately managed out of the business’. I have no doubt that my choice to report the issue in the company and subsequent events were not unrelated.
To a lesser extent, like many women, if I had a pound for every time I have been #hepeated I would be a much wealthier woman.
- What advice would you give to any women out there who are having gender related workplace challenges?
I will always encourage anyone to know their rights but more importantly to understand the process to challenge decisions and behaviors in the workplace. Build relationships with other women in your workplace and support each other. We are stronger together and multiple voices will always be stronger than one voice. All the recent campaigns have been proof of that.
- If you could go back in time to give your younger self some advice, what would it be?
I wish I had believed in myself more and had the confidence to challenge the status quo.
Understand that without mistakes and failures I would never have learned much of what I have and trusted that everything happens for a reason, sometimes that reason doesn’t manifest itself until later down the line, but by then you have learned the lesson, become stronger and moved on.
Please comment below, as we would love to hear your thoughts and experiences as we all #pressforprogress