Celebrating Women at IWD Connect

On Friday 6th March, we brought together over 80 leaders from across Liverpool City Region and beyond to celebrate International Women’s Day at our IWD Connect event, in partnership with MSB Solicitors, The City of Liverpool College, Hope Street Hotel and Beckoration.

Hosted at Hope Street Hotel, guests were treated to a three course meal and some incredible views of Liverpool, for an afternoon of celebration and an opportunity to shout about the contribution that women make, as well as to address the need for more progress in terms of equality and diversity throughout all walks of life.

Jeanette Gill, campaigns director at Agent and Zoe Wallace, director of Agent Academy, kicked off proceedings to welcome guests to the event and to share their thoughts on what International Women’s Day means to them.

Zoe said: 

“In the digital and technology industries, the latest insight shows that 23% of the people working in STEM roles across the UK are female, only 5% of leadership positions in the technology industry are held by women and 78% of students can’t name a famous female working in tech.

“That said, the industry and the people working in it are taking action to change this. It’s really encouraging to see brilliant initiatives happening to tackle gender disparity.

“At Agent Academy, all of our cohorts have a 50/50 gender split, as well as being diverse in every other sense of the word. The young people we work with are the future workforce, so it’s extremely rewarding to see that throughout our programme we are literally changing the face of the industry.

“By celebrating International Women’s Day, we can bring people together to encourage change and lead by example, ensuring that we are positive role models for the female leaders of the future.”

Zoe Wallace at IWD Connect

Emma Carey, managing partner of MSB Solicitors, acknowledged the progress that has been made, but pointed out the need for more to be done. She said:

“Statistics show 48% of our profession are women. But sadly, only 28% of partners in law firms are female. We still have a long way to go. We need to ask why these female lawyers aren’t achieving. It isn’t because they aren’t intelligent or good lawyers. It’s because they face barriers to progressing.

“I’m incredibly proud that at MSB, we have an Equality and Diversity Committee, an equal gender partnership and our management board is made up of 70% women.

“It’s not enough for us to hope that what we want will filter into our organisations. We have to take action to make it happen.”

Elaine Bowker, principal of The City of Liverpool College, commented on the role that education has to play in creating opportunities for women in the world of work:

“We all want our city region to be the best it can be. But we can only achieve that if we truly value talent.

“Education should be the sector that is opening up the opportunities, but we still don’t see enough females in senior positions in the industry.

“We all have a responsibility to empower women and to ask ourselves, how are we helping women and creating opportunities for them to succeed? It starts with us all. As leaders, we need to check our own behaviours and lead from the front to make a change.”

Elaine Bowker at IWD Connect

Closing the event with an incredibly moving and inspiring speech was Emma Degg, CEO of NWLP, who called for a change. She said:

“It is a fact that women, when on a balanced board, deliver 33% higher productivity for their company. So why is it that more females are not in leadership positions?

“If you want to switch up productivity, you have to switch up the diversity of your leadership teams.”

Thank you to all of our partners, clients and friends for joining us at IWD Connect. It was a fantastic event and we left feeling empowered and inspired to champion the women in our personal and professional lives, not just on International Women’s Day, but every day of the year.

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