Why do we need a day to celebrate Women? Shouldn't we be celebrating our achievements every day? Yes, of course we should. But having a day to celebrate women and their achievements really helps to raise awareness about the wonderful work that has been done, but also highlights how much there is yet to do globally.
Phrases such as gender equality, stereotypes, discrimination and bias exist because the conversation is being had. But in too many circumstances, it's not happening quickly enough and women are losing out because of it. Together, as a global community, we need to work and come together to forge women's equality. To make our world diverse, inclusive and gender equal. A world where we can value and celebrate our differences.
This year's theme is all about 'Breaking The Bias' and voices how we can raise awareness against bias and take action for equality.
With this in mind, we put together a list of questions for our female founder, Janan, to share her views and experiences of what it's like to be a woman in business.
How has being a woman in business helped you break predetermined bias?
The beauty about starting and running your own business is that you just have to get on with it, regardless of what may be seen as being stereotypically male or female roles. I have found it very interesting, however, that when the covid lockdown hit, it was mainly women who were affected, as they returned to their domestic chores and caring for family whilst still trying to spin all the business plates.
How do you think the breaking of gender roles has affected your industry in the past decade?
It's never been easier to start a business from home and, although I don't have any stats to hand, more and more women are starting and growing successful businesses. The startup world encourages women founders and there are lots of opportunities celebrating women in business. Being in the fashion industry, there are lots of women founded businesses however, I do find that men seem to dominate the roles once a business reaches a certain size, and I wonder why this may be the case? Is it because women are still seen as the main carers for children and the family household, and ultimately, something has to give?
Has any woman positively impacted your career or life? What's the one lesson she taught you?
My mum, who is also a woman in business. She's always been my number 1 fan and encouraged me from a very early age to appreciate and explore entrepreneurship. My mum has been in business since before I was born, so I grew up experiencing and learning from life with a working, busines-minded mum. Over the years, she has taught me about the power of optimism, which is absolutely crucial when you're in business.
What are some of the challenges facing women in business today?
I speak from a very personal perspective, as I'm currently going through this phase in my life at the moment. Running a business and having a young family is a full-on act to follow. Both require undivided attention to develop, grow and flourish and the guilt of not spending enough time with either is incredibly real.
Another challenge that I experienced was actually during both of my pregnancies. Mother Nature wasn't particularly kind to me and I definitely did not radiate or bloom throughout! The exhaustion and physical illness were draining and I found getting through a normal day challenging, which made running the business incredibly tough.
What advice do you have for women starting their own business?
Be clear about the reasons why you want to start your own business so you can focus on those priorities. Also, I've found that surrounding myself with brilliant, enthusiastic and talented people works wonders! And finally, never be fooled by The Swan. It's so easy to constantly compare yourself to others... but know they are also probably paddling and hustling like crazy. You are most definitely not alone!
And lastly, you're a parent... what do you think your role is in raising a more equal future generation?
Absolutely vital. Children are the future and will be our leaders of tomorrow. So for me, communication on all levels and encouragement are key. As I've been raised, I believe in encouraging my children to break the stereotypical boundaries. Elin, for example, enjoys both football and ballet and I will continue to encourage her to try different activities and subjects. I'm also a firm believer in open communication. There are lots of difficult subjects, so having open discussions will hopefully encourage a broad outlook and healthy mind.