Equality in the workplace is firmly back on the agenda thanks to a series of inspiring campaigns from determined individuals.
We spoke to three leading women based at Quorum Business Park to find out what equality means to them – and to see if they had any advice for both women and men.
In the first of this two part series, we speak to Margaret Robinson and Shirin Lajevardi who co-founded Bodycare Clinics six years ago.
Read part two here.
Margaret and Shirin had both worked together previously before joining forces to start Bodycare Clinics, a national independent medical evidence and rehabilitation company.
After three years of growth they expanded the company into office space at Quorum Business Park, where they have continued to enjoy success.
Both Margaret and Shirin hope that their own roles as business leaders will help change any lasting perceptions that women can’t secure the top jobs.
“At Bodycare Clinics, we have a 50/50 split between males and females in senior management, which is unusual,” says Margaret.
“We hope that by leading our team we expel any old-fashioned ideas that women in business cannot achieve the prime positions previously adopted by men.”
While having two female founders of a business doesn’t instantly mean harmony, Shirin believes their relationship is built on a much deeper level than simply being women.
She said: “Times have moved forward from the days of women in power suits trying to represent strength through image. We are very different in personalities, however we hold the same moral and ethical standards. This is the key to our success.”
Skills not gender
As two senior women within the business, Margaret and Shirin are perfectly placed to understand what changes companies can make to improve workplace equality and attract more women to senior roles.
Both agree that it is about looking past gender stereotypes, and even ignoring gender entirely.
“Recognise skills not gender,” says Shirin.
Margaret added: “By understanding life restraints and offering flexible solutions to aid working life and training opportunities.
Enjoying the journey
With a movement towards improved equality in society, we asked what advice would they give themselves if they could go back a few years?
Shirin said: “I would say enjoy the journey, you’ll get there anyway regardless of whether the route is a direct or indirect one.
“Sometimes focus can be on the next thing and the next goal, without really living for the moment.”
Margaret added: “I would advise that you take chances and follow your vision – and don’t listen to people saying you won’t ever achieve your dream job.
“I left school at 15 with basic ‘O’ Level qualifications and my success has come through hard work, determination and never giving up.”
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