We proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2020. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.
We interviewed Charlotte Hobrough, Global Mobility Tax Senior Manager at James Cowper Kreston.
What does equality in the workplace look like for you?
Equality in the workplace is more than just equal pay, fair treatment and equal opportunities regardless of gender. It is women feeling they have the support in the workplace to make their voice heard and to push themselves forward. Often women are concerned that their opinion doesn’t count or that they can’t progress in their careers due to juggling families. Having a supportive work culture where people champion women leaders and encourage them to stand up for what they believe is instrumental in creating a more equal culture where women flourish. Women need to remember that they bring a lot of positive attributes to the workplace such as flexibility and collaboration and this should be celebrated!
Do you feel social media has influenced a positive shift change for female leadership?
I feel that social media is a very different platform to what it was when I started my career. Women are not afraid to stand together and voice their opinions publicly via social media platforms like LinkedIn. Social media is also a great way to positively influence corporate culture and ensure the shift change becomes a reality.
If yes, has there been any particular stories that have resonated with you?
I was fascinated recently by listening on LinkedIn to Bruce Daisley talk about his new book ‘Modern work is a lie’. He discussed the concept of psychological safety, which was first introduced by the organisational behavioural scientist Amy Edmondson, and how empowering this is to organisations. The culture of creating an environment in which people feel comfortable to take risks is particularly key to women as research reports that women experience lower levels of psychological safety compared with men. Women often don’t feel safe to take risks at work and coupled with the difficulties of career breaks and childcare they often feel scared to speak up. The importance of these soft skills which female leaders can often bring to the table is actually being shown as crucial to productivity.
What have you or your business implemented to achieve positive changes for an equal workforce?
I have been heavily involved for the last couple of years in the Thames Valley branch of Women in Tax. It is a network for women working in all areas of tax and was set up to raise the voice of women working in all spheres of tax through a supportive network that connects people, facilitates skills development and promotes the sharing of ideas. Besides monthly networking breakfasts we have regular evening events which cover various topics from technical issues like tax policy to soft skills like mindfulness. I recently helped organise an event on using mindfulness when networking which was a breath of fresh air! We all felt the practical session helped us to feel more confident when approaching the often difficult task of walking into a room full of people and having the self-belief to network with positive self-assurance. One of the most enjoyable aspects of being on the Women in Tax committee has been organising events with a junior work colleague and hopefully inspiring her with confidence to share her ideas and voice her opinions at an early stage in her career. If we can encourage women in the early stages of their career to believe in themselves then we are setting up women for success in later life. My involvement in Women in Tax has been fully supported by James Cowper Kreston through practical help from our marketing department in assisting with publicity and event organisation to providing drinks and nibbles for committee meetings! Having the backing of my employer has definitely contributed to the success of Women in Tax and it feels great to be working for an employer who is willing to support groups set up to raise the voice of women. There is still more to be done to ensure the culture is fully embedded across the firm but I hope this is the start of a positive and influential movement.
Please note that all commentary and opinions provided are those of the individual, and not the organisation/company they are employed by.