On International Women's Day - Say hello to Lucy Malarkey
IT'S INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY ON MONDAY 8 MARCH THIS YEAR AND THE THEME IS 'CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE' AS FROM CHALLENGE COMES CHANGE.
We chose to seek out and celebrate the achievements of some of the women we know and if there is anyone who is an equality advocate helping to amplify the cause it's Lucy, who is a Director at Positive About Inclusion.
Positive About Inclusion is a newly formed social enterprise, offering training and consultancy services for organisations to help them on their inclusion journey. It was redundancy last year that gave her the opportunity to follow her passion for the equality, diversity and inclusion agenda, hence establishing the business. And we caught up with her to find out more.
What does International Women's Day mean to you?
IWD is an annual opportunity to celebrate women’s achievements and promote gender equality.
Are there any particular barriers or obstacles you feel you've faced within your career?
The obstacles I’ve personally faced have been in relation to returning to work following maternity leave. Organisations aren’t generally geared up to respond adequately to the emotional and psychological issues that women face. Returning to work from maternity leave was the biggest career challenge to happen to me.
Employers may offer things like ‘keep in touch’ days, which is a small improvement, but it’s not enough to prepare someone for coming back into the workplace (if you had been off sick you would probably have had a phased return!). Personally, I would like to see more businesses explore simple ideas like post-maternity buddying or mentorship.
Are there any aspects of gender inequality that you would like to see challenged and changed?
My pledge for IWD 2021 is to continue to challenge gender stereotypes and bias by calling out inappropriate behaviour when I see it and by not making assumptions about someone’s gender based on a name or job role.
What are the most effective ways to counteract the negative stereotypes of feminism, especially in the workplace?
I think this is where the role of male allies is so important. It is obviously very valuable for women to connect with women to share experiences, learn and support each other but it is also vital that men are actively encouraged to participate.
If you could pass on one piece of valuable advice to women aspiring to be in a role like yours, what would you say?
If you get the opportunity to pursue your passion then just do it!
IF YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY THIS WEEK CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE INEQUALITY, CALL OUT BIAS, QUESTION STEREOTYPES, AND HELP FORGE AN INCLUSIVE WORLD IN SUPPORT OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY.