On Monday 8th March 2010 we can all celebrate the strengths and achievements of women as we mark the 99 year anniversary of International Women’s Day. On this day, women around the world join together in celebration of the intelligence, strength, courage and beauty of women. Northern Ireland women are still under-represented in business, politics and economy with common occupations the same as they were 50 years ago.
Women are also poorly represented at board level in the UK garden buildings industry. My own involvement began part-time, in 2003, supporting the rapidly increasing public interest in my husband’s design and construction skills. He developed distinct ranges of garden rooms which became popular enough to warrant establishing several lines in a specifically structured manufacturing plant. The rapid business growth necessitated the development of secure infrastructures, databases, record systems, service profiles and further managerial implementation to support a desire for the best customer service experience.
That’s when it dawned on us that I had the common sense, skills and trust to facilitate this growth. I had less than 3 years business experience, being an honours graduate of medicine on a year out, with two young children to cater for. But I could listen without judgement to the business issues and see clearly, from the outside, what needed doing and the most efficient way to get there. Having completely taken our designs back to the drawing board and found greener alternatives, launching our 2010 range has also launched my career as marketing director with Studioni.
Whether our client is a family, a working mum, a couple or a professional executive woman, I find they are both surprised and pleased to deal with another woman in what they perceive as a man’s sector. My favourite quote for International Women’s Day? “The fastest way to change society is to mobilize the women of the world.”
I cannot complete without a mention of Inez McCormack, who rendered me spellbound during her speech at a recent Women In Business event at Belfast Castle. Inez spoke humbly and passionately about her work with women in India, supporting real economy. UTV and the Belfast Telegraph report that Meryl Streep has been cast to portray our own Inez, “feisty Northern Irish women’s rights activist”, in a new Broadway play. Inez McCormack became involved in the Northern Ireland civil rights movement in the 1960s when she took part in non-violent protests opposing inequality in jobs and housing. She later became involved in the male-dominated trade unions, campaigning for women workers.
If you are a female director in our sector, please get in touch. I am interviewing women this week to Feature in our blog.