This year International Women’s Day (IWD) encourages us to #EmbraceEquity by contributing to the conversation about equal opportunities and how – given the diverse range of backgrounds individuals come from – an equal opportunity is not always enough to enable everyone to flourish in the same way. As a business with a 43% female headcount, and a staunch dedication to staff development and overall well-being, this year’s theme perfectly encapsulates how we’ve always approached such topics.
Our favourite description of the difference between equality and equity comes from Naheed Dosani. He said, “Equality is giving everyone a shoe; equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits.”
For that very reason, we nod to the individuality of personal experience. To highlight that we all move through life on a one-of-a-kind path, with a unique set of lived experiences, viewing the world through our own lens and equipped with an individual set of strengths. For all the above, everyone’s “fit” will of course be unique.
Many of us have been lucky enough to have met and been surrounded by inspiring women who despite not always being faced with equal opportunities have overcome the limitations they have experienced. What better way to celebrate those women than to share their stories with others?
Here are some of the moving narratives Yardies and partners shared.
Collette Easton | CEO, Yard
"Celebrate the queens in your life."
There are 3 generations of women who inspire me (as seen above).
Nin (my great nan), the Mayoress of Wrexham in the late 60s.
Nan, a Royal Military Policewoman who saw all sorts of horrors in the second world war.
Mum, joined the Army but had to leave when she got pregnant – that still happened in the 70s. My Dad was in the Army, so she raised our family, whenever we were posted – pretty much every 18 months she settled us in, and got a job to ensure we had as much as they were able to provide.
The little baby is me. What an existence I’ve had: ex-RAF, blessed enough to discover SEO/digital marketing in early 2000 which changed my life and gave me purpose, interest and direction. These days I’m focused on Yard and our clients.
These women raised me, gave me my DNA and my blueprint. Nothing got in the way of them fiercely protecting their own, despite many obstacles.
What a lucky woman I am.
Abigail Shaw | SEO Manager, VisitScotland
"Never underestimate the power of women in the tech industry."
My mum inspires me! She's an Application Developer, and as a woman in the tech industry, she showed me how barriers can be broken. Of course, being a woman in a male-dominated field can be (and for many is) a struggle, but never underestimate the power of having someone in your life that challenges those perceptions.
Stefan Zechner | Global ASO & SEO Leader, Organic Performance, Western Union
"I am inspired by women at large."
My muse, my best friend, my wife, the mother of my kids and my soul mate is without a doubt my woman of inspiration. She strives for perfection, has no idea how outgoing, helpful and powerful she is and really all she’d ever need to do is just be, be herself.
Amber Coakes | Head of Marketing and Communication, Norton Insurance Brokers Limited
“The professor who made me find the magic in something handed down verbally for generations before anyone ever put it on a page.”
Professor Helen Barr, whom I knew as Dr Barr, was my tutor in Anglo-Saxon and introduced me to a world of epic poetry, monstrous imaginings, and dirty Chaucer jokes. Usually found wearing all black apart from a pair of yellow Crocs and a chunky necklace, Prof Barr was the most approachable academic on campus. She was thoughtful and witty and made us dig into our assumptions. To this day, I credit her with my continued interest in the power of language and a (reluctant) acceptance of the place of Crocs in the world.
Steve Ollington | SEO Lead, Three UK
“They both taught me so much."
At different times, both Lis and Aidan were in my team at a digital agency. I was older and supposedly wiser - yet it was me that did most of the learning in the end.
They both taught me so much, helping me to change my perceptions on different subjects and opening my eyes to the different realities that women experience in the world, compared to men. Things I never gave thought to; or took for granted as ‘normal’ were only normal for me as a man.
These two smart, hardworking, kind, and patient (with me) young women went on to bigger and better careers - they were my teachers and now hold positions where they write to teach others, too.