International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration, taking place each year on the 8th of March.
It’s a day to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women as well as a movement that actively fights for gender equality (through marches, events, fundraising and more). For many, it’s a chance to reflect on how far women have come since the very first Women’s Day took place in 1909.
To celebrate, we interviewed several amazing women to find out what IWD means to them, how women can succeed in the workplace and where they turn to for inspiration.
As part of this series, we interviewed Mary Archibald. She’s the Medical Education Manager and Simulation Centre Manager at PGMC and the Director of Operations at the Evelyn Cambridge Surgical Training Centre.
Her achievements are plentiful – she has an MBA and is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Management. In her role as Medical Education/Simulation Centre Manager of the Postgraduate Medical Centre (PGMC) at CUHFT, she oversees the delivery of over 350 days of education per year, including large international conferences and hands-on practical skills courses for senior consultants!
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
To have an International Women’s Day is a huge acknowledgement to women all over the world – it acknowledges they are seen as being equal to men and are respected in today’s society irrespective of their background and status.
What women’s issues need greater awareness in your opinion?
To recognise women today still take on multiple roles, with some being the main worker in the household, mother to young children and carer to elderly parents. I would like to see employers have a better awareness of the amount of multi-tasking a working mother has to undertake to support her family.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to women entering leadership positions?
Lack of flexibility in the workplace, in particular for those women who have childcare or carer responsibilities. Also, the cost of child care and caring for elderly parents is excessive. Also, a lot of women lack self-confidence.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
To stay focused and grasp every opportunity that comes your way. Have self-belief, and tenacity, remember you can succeed and achieve your goals.
How do you support women in your everyday life?
By listening and doing my best to accommodate requests for flexible working. Understanding that life throws up many obstacles, and making myself accessible for my team to talk to me, and not put up barriers to prevent them from asking for help.
What companies or business models do you admire?
The NHS as they offer so many opportunities for women.
What woman inspires you the most?
My eldest daughter Claire, who is a single mother of two young children, living at the other end of the World away from her family. She was bullied and mentally abused by her ex-husband, and forced to leave her job as her company would not support her request for flexible working. She did not allow herself to fall to pieces, but picked herself and started her own small business which is going well. She is an inspiration to me and to anyone that knows her.
Image credits: Unsplash.