Celebrating International Women’s Day 2022

International Women’s Day is an invitation to acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of women globally. It recognises how far we’ve come towards gender equality, and how far we still have to go.

The 2022 IWD theme #BreakTheBias challenges us to take steps and speak out to create a world free from stereotypes and discrimination and make developments towards gender equality in work and in society.

Saxton Bampfylde is proud to be an organisation that lives through its value of responsibility, celebrating talented women, from all backgrounds, for all their work and achievements and supporting them through the challenges they face. As a firm that is made up of 75% extraordinary women, we want to highlight the topic and address the issues of inequality that remain in society. That’s why we’re standing to #BreakTheBias, not just today, but every day!

We’re delighted to share the views from a discussion with our partners on what organisations can do to forge a gender-equal society, and hear about the women who have inspired them most.


What can organisations do to better promote female equality in the workplace?

 

Kirsten Brooks
Partner, Head of Governance

This is a big question and one that is hugely tied in to societal and cultural norms around gender roles and expectations. And workplaces can play a role in shifting some of these, but equally workplaces need to see some shifts in society as a whole too.

Shared parental leave has the potential to be a real game changer. 6 years on from its introduction, uptake is still as little as around 2% because it is inadequately financed (so not an attractive option to families – or employers), clumsy and complicated. If this was sorted out and made into something more attractive and accessible, it could help significantly to undo some of the deeply ingrained historical and cultural norms surrounding gender roles which hinder equality but also limit the experiences of others (eg fathers losing out on time with their children and same sex couples having to navigate a very narrow system). A proper shared parental leave policy would:

  • Equalise absence and opportunity in the workplace; benefiting a wider range of women than just mothers: absences are costly for employers and this has implications for hiring and attrition, perpetuating gender bias. The negative implications are clear for potential mothers but the impacts often span wider to women with no intention of having children but are penalised on the basis of their sex. And of course companies lose out on diverse talent. SPL addresses this by spreading the absence and associated costs of parental leave across both genders.
  • Create a greater balance of domestic and caregiving responsibilities which in turn supports mothers who wish to work. I wonder what the percentage of mothers is who decide to leave the workplace because it is all just too much to do both? An SPL policy would bring further balance to the juggle of work and family – not just in terms of working part time or flexible hours to fulfil family responsibilities but also the mental load of it.
  • Flexible working is great – with all sorts of benefits for us all, relating to productivity, wellbeing, retention/attraction etc and relevant to this, it has allowed some parents to work who otherwise wouldn’t be able to but short of us all universally adopting a 6 hour working day (a la Sweden), I might argue that it falls short in addressing gender inequality within our current mat/pat leave structure. I fully appreciate there are many men (particularly in Saxton Bampfylde) who are primary caregivers or share family responsibilities very evenly with their partners so I don’t want to appear dismissive or ignorant of that but the data suggests women are more likely to reduce their hours or pull back in their careers to look after their children. If a higher proportion of those who are making use of flexible working arrangements such as part time, or shorter working days are women, can it ever be a truly level playing field?

Policy is a tool that can facilitate cultural change and advancement towards parity and I believe seeing a greater uptake of shared parental leave in workplaces would be a huge game changer for all sorts of different people/groups and both in the workplace and the home!

 

Jamie Wesley
Partner, Consultant

Where there is a lack of equality, it is invariably the men who have made it so. Sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously. So training for all male colleagues on the key issues would be helpful. Men must lead and be seen to lead a more positive example when it comes to gender equality in the workplace, and they have to be allies and collaborators with women in order to address the issues.

I think that men need to start from a position of acceptance that they have (for the most part) been privileged in life in comparison to women. Without seeing this they won’t be able to gain an understanding of why gender equality is something worth being very proactive in fighting for. An example I give to my male friends is to talk about a study of crash test dummies looking at the safety of cars that happened a few years ago. Every dummy had a male, rather than female figure, which research has shown makes driving the vast majority of our cars much less safe for women relative to men. (This is also a great way to demonstrate to men who feel we already have gender equality that we really haven’t).  In many cases, gender inequality is hard-wired into the system, and that is what we have to be alive to in order to change things.

 

Jess Lee
Partner, Researcher

Organisations must have fair and transparent policies around issues that are known to impact women in particular, such as maternity, menopause, progression and promotions, as well as a regular gender pay gap review that reflects seniority within the organisation.

 

Rebecca Emerick
Partner, Associate Consultant

Organisations should introduce coercive control awareness training, Hestia is doing great work with companies on this issue. It makes companies a genuinely safe place to display vulnerability.

 


How can women help other women to succeed?

 

Kirsten Hendry
Partner, Chief of Staff

One of the most helpful things, as a young women entering the workplace or looking to advance in their career is to feel that you have more experienced colleagues or connections who will guide you, advise you and champion you. Being conscious that someone’s background may mean that they don’t arrive with those connections, don’t know how to make them or don’t know that they even need them is really important, and someone offering support can be as important as an organisation having processes and structures that are free from bias.

 

Sophie Tredinnick
Partner, Consultant

Being honest about difficult experiences, being open and vulnerable with each other and sharing success stories. Explaining what we’ve found to be helpful and how we’ve achieved things and asking others to share their stories in return. Listening to the wonderful women we surround ourselves with and helping them to feel heard is extremely powerful. Reminding women that we can achieve what we want to achieve and it’s a strength to ask for help along the way, not a weakness.


Which woman inspires you most?

 

Becca Tame
Partner, Researcher

The woman that has inspired me most has always been my mum, as she has an unbelievable ability to put anyone and everyone above herself. Coincidently she also gave me the best piece of advice for my career when I was scared of failing, which was ‘the only way you definitely won’t get it is if you don’t try’, and it was following that advice that led me to get my job!

 

Rachel Hubbard
Partner, Consultant

My daughter inspires me the most. She is a fabulous mother, wife, sister, friend and daughter – as well as doing an incredibly difficult job. I am in awe of the generosity, love and kindness with which she approached life and how she managed to prioritise what is important – people. I am so proud of her and humbled by who she is and having her in my life. So much more is expected of women than when I was a young mother.

 

Kirsten Hendry

Honestly I find most inspiration in the women who surround me every day. Young women who have overcome a lot, who are ambitious despite self-doubt, who champion others at every opportunity and who take such pride in following in the footsteps of those that have come before us. There is so much hope to be found in young women and the fierce confidence they show in the face of adversity.

 

Jess Lee

My grandmother – she moved from Swansea to London to help with the war effort at great personal cost, then moved to Myanmar and Japan with my grandfather in the years following the war to support him and start their family. She was brave and loving, and her sense of daring to go somewhere new or jump into the unknown is a quality I’d love to build in myself!

 

Jamie Wesley

I can think of so many inspiring women (Idina Menzel, Jacinda Ardern, Claire Balding, Sandi Toksvig, Laura Kuensberg, Marin Alsop (conductor), my wife Holly, my sister!). Honestly though, I think I have to go for my mum. She has raised 5 kids, went to university when she had two of them, had a fab career in global marketing roles at Astra Zeneca and McCann, and for the last 8 years has built a company that is now about 2/3 the size of Saxton Bampfylde. She is also the first women’s equality party counsellor in the country (now there are about three) and has made some significant positive changes in her region (Cheshire) on matters like violence against women and girls, and in general in support of vulnerable people in the community.  She is also always there for everyone in her life.  I always think about how I can tap into her energy source – it is completely endless!

 

Rebecca Emerick

Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda. Both women fought misogyny long before it was cool. Dolly’s lyrics have a lot more to them than people think. Klute was such an epic statement on feminism and then making the film 9-5 was really ballsy in its time, standing up for secretaries in the workplace, slimy bosses, the need for flexible child-care.


Saxton Bampfylde proudly championing female leadership

Through our work, Saxton Bampfylde is proud to have been involved in the appointments of many women to senior executive and non-executive roles in international commerce and industry and in the government, higher education and voluntary sectors.

In 2021, we were pleased to report that 48% of our board appointments were female, and that we’ve also placed some of the first female senior executives to organisations that have traditionally been male-led, most recently including:

Lisa Farmer
First woman Chief Executive of RBLI

Amina Shah 
First woman Chief Executive and National Librarian of the National Library of Scotland

Professor Abigail Brundin
First woman Director of The British School in Rome

Some of our recent female Board appointments

  • Dawn Airey, Tess Alps & Sarah Sands
    Non-executive Directors at Channel 4
  • Justine Greening
    Non-executive Director at On the Beach
  • Gisela Abbam
    Chair of the General Pharmaceutical Council
  • Dr Carol Homden CBE
    Chair of Diabetes UK
  • Dame Julia Unwin
    Chair of Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence at University of Edinburgh
  • Jenny Watson
    Chair of Regulatory Board at ICAEW
  • Natasha Traynor
    Lay Member at University of Manchester
  • Larissa Joy
    Chair at Hawkins Brown
  • Rima Makarem
    Chair at Sue Ryder
  • Louise Smith
    Chair at Innovate Finance

 

 

Latest

University of Chichester announces appointment of new Vice-Chancellor

DFN Project SEARCH appoints learning disability expert Kirsty Matthews as new Chief Executive

Jonathan Shaw appointed as new Headmaster of Ellesmere College

Elizabeth Newman appointed as Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres

Queen Mary’s School Announces New Head for 2025

Canterbury Christ Church University appoints Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost

Steering the family business forward: Interview with Gouy Hamilton-Fisher, Director Colleagues & Support, Timpson Group

Jewish Museum London appoints Sally Angel as new Chief Executive

Foundling Museum announces new Chair

The White Horse Federation appoints CEO

Social Mobility Day 2024

Concern Worldwide (UK) appoints new Executive Director

Richard Greenhalgh succeeded by Christian Brodie as Chair of United Learning’s Group Board

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew announces Susan Raikes as Director of Wakehurst

We have moved! Our new London location

Managing Risk in Professional Services: It’s not just about protecting the firm, but enabling it – Interview with Alastair Levy

Crystal Palace Park Trust welcomes Victoria Pinnington as new CEO

Nadia Fall appointed as new Artistic Director of The Young Vic Theatre

How lawyers are coming to terms with their own ‘Now and Then’

Nicola Dudley announced as new Head of Queen Margaret’s School for Girls

Gordon Seabright appointed new Chief Executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens

The General Pharmaceutical Council appoints new Chief Strategy Officer

A healthy perspective on executive search

Foot Anstey LLP appoints Non-Executive Director

South By Southwest comes to London

Saxton Bampfylde in action with charity Smart Works

Sue Ryder announces new Chief Executive

What will healthcare look like over the coming decade? Interview with Gabrielle Mathews

Liz Truss was correct. Well, on one fundamental point

General Dental Council announces new Chief Executive and Registrar

Andrew Comben appointed new CEO of Britten Pears Arts

Dr Nicholas Cullinan OBE appointed as new Director of the British Museum

Saxton Bampfylde partners with Family Business UK

Professor Robert Mokaya appointed Provost and DVC at University of Sheffield

30 years on from the first Code: A personal account of the Corporate Governance Revolution

Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

Steering the family business forward: Interview with Emma Fox, CEO of Berry Bros & Rudd

Leadership in the age of AI: CEO Breakfast with Doug Gurr, Director of the National History Museum

Sustainability Dinner with speaker James Cameron, Chair of Crown Agents

What will healthcare look like over the coming decade? Interview with Nigel Edwards

Middlesex University announces its new Vice-Chancellor

SafeLives appoints new CEO

Do the right thing: ESG in 2024 – Interview with Lisa Hart Shepherd, CEO of Lamp House Strategy

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – Helen Buckingham, Nuffield Trust

New GPhC Council members appointed for 2024 and 2025

RICS senior governance appointments

An Independent Mind: Sharpening the role of a law firm NED

CLCH appoints new Director of Strategy, Partnerships and Integration

Into Film appoints Fiona Evans as new CEO

An evening for current and aspiring non-executives with Kenny Imafidon

V&A announces Director of Collections and Chief Curator

RNLI appoints new leader to take charity into third century of lifesaving

Erika Lewis appointed CEO at Connected Places Catapult

Alex Frazer Announced as the New Head of Bancroft’s

Sue Baillie appointed as Woldingham’s new Head

Royal Hospital School appoints new Head

The University of Manchester appoints Professor Duncan Ivison as next President & Vice-Chancellor

Championing the Mission – Interview with Jonathan Morgan

Quadrant Chambers appoints Sarah Longden as new COO

New Oasis Community Learning Chief Executive Announced

Rachel Kent made Financial Regulators Complaints Commissioner

Steering the family business forward: Interview with Paul Drechsler CBE

Indhu Rubasingham appointed as Director of the National Theatre

Northumbria University, Newcastle appoints new members to Board of Governors

Professor Tom Crick joins DCMS as Chief Scientific Adviser

Norwich Theatre appoints Tom Sleigh as new Chair

MOSL announces Cliff Kamara as new Board member

Saxton Bampfylde welcomes Partner Hannah Scarisbrick back to the firm

Saxton Bampfylde ranked in Financial Times UK’s Leading Recruiters 2024

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation and Association Welcomes Martin Houghton-Brown as Secretary General

Royal British Legion Announces New Director General

English Heritage announces New Blue Plaques Panel Members

Paul Ridd named Director of Edinburgh International Film Festival

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra announces Lord Tony Hall as new Chair

Team Consulting appoints new CEO

UK Civil Aviation Authority Appoints Rob Bishton as the new Chief Executive

The Box appoints Rebecca Bridgman as Head of Collections and Programme

English Heritage appoints Dr Nick Merriman as its new Chief Executive

Breadth and depth: leading across the regulatory landscape

Who’s Moving in Healthcare – August-September 2023

Wise counsel: bringing an external perspective to Higher Education

Looking through a different lens: a scientific scope from academia to government

Outside In: Leveraging External Perspectives in Higher Education

Samori Gambrah announced as Chair for New Art Exchange

Chris Auty appointed as new Director at London Film School

Cherian Mathews appointed as new Chief Executive of HelpAge International

Dr Dave Smith takes helm as UK’s National Technology Adviser

Now Teach appoints new CEO

A Healthy Perspective Podcast – David Hare MBE, CEO of Independent Healthcare Providers Network

Dr Paul Thompson appointed as British Council Chair

Appointment of new CEO for GLF Schools

Bas Javid appointed new Director General of Immigration Enforcement

New CEO appointed for the UK’s national synchrotron, Diamond Light Source

University of Nottingham appoints new Pro-Vice-Chancellor for its Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences

Béatrice Butsana-Sita appointed new CEO of the British Red Cross

Michael Plaut OBE announced as new Chair of Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Will Gompertz announced as the Soane’s new Director

Who’s Moving in Healthcare – June-July 2023

Dr Ghazwa Alwani-Starr appointed as new COO at University of Bath

PA Housing announces five new non-executive members to join board