The challenges and advantages of being a woman in the modern workplace were discussed at the Stockport Action for Business meeting yesterday (5th March).
A panel of leading businesswomen from a range of sectors talked about their careers and the issues they had faced before taking questions from the audience.
The discussion was chaired by Reet Dhallu, Lead Regional Membership Manager at Greater Manchester Chamber.
The panel members were:
- Kat Higgins, Head of 923 North
- Laura Frost, Marketing Manager, Clarke Nicklin
- Ayesha Nayyar, Nayyars Solicitors
- Jane Keys, Director of Apprenticeships & Business Engagement, Stockport & Trafford College
One of the major challenges panel members had faced was returning to work after having children, particularly when it came to asking for flexible working. One member’s employer had refused her request to work a four-day week, meaning that she went to work for another company after having her second child. It was felt that it could be difficult to make your voice heard as a young woman in the workplace, but most thought the workplace was better for women today than when they were first starting out on their career.
Some of the panel members pointed out that there were distinct advantages to being a woman in the workplace. They highlighted the connection they had with female customers through issues such as child care and thought women had a greater emotional intelligence.
One member said that being a woman in a male-dominated industry was often seen as a challenge, but it could actually be an advantage as you stood out from the crowd and people were more likely to remember you.
Looking to the future, the panel pointed out that young people expected flexibility in their job and employers had to provide this if they wanted to attract new staff.