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I #PressForProgress on International Women’s Day

I’m lucky enough to have never overtly faced discrimination or inequality because of my gender. I’ve never been denied an opportunity or told ‘you can’t’.

Perhaps I’m one of few who can say that. And this speaks volumes in two ways. Firstly, that the women who have fought for equality over the past centuries have made progress. And secondly, that there is still an enormous way to come to make this the case for everybody.

I’m supporting International Women’s Day in the hope that one day, we will achieve gender parity across the globe in every aspect of our lives. I’ve pledged to challenge stereotypes and bias.

As well as raising awareness of the progress we still have to make, today is about celebrating influential women. There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of women throughout history who have made a difference to the world today, and I wish I could thank each of them. But sadly I can’t.

So, I’d like to share with you a handful of the vast pool of women who may not have changed the world, but have been influential in my world, in some way.

Sarah Hall – I’m forever indebted to you for giving me a chance to get some experience whilst still a lowly PR student and for taking time to share your advice and expertise. And for being a downright lovely person to know. The work you’re doing to raise awareness and eradicate the gender pay gap is so needed and more appreciated than you’ll know. You’re the perfect person to lead the CIPR into a new era, encouraging professionalism, excellence and change.

The genius behind DKNY PR Girl and someone who recognised the power of social media long before the rest of the world, Aliza Licht. Aliza’s book, Leave Your Mark, I read during my second year of university and it motivated beyond words to be the best version of me and always grasp opportunities with both hands. Sharing hints, tips and advice from her glittering career, it’s a book that really makes you sit up and listen, I highly recommend it whatever industry you work in.

Professor Ann Gregory – I follow Ann’s work with passion, striving for professionalism in the industry. She penned the book that got me through my PR degree (get it here) and her expertise shared across her written work is vastly useful.

Ella Minty, an established industry professional who works with PRs to encourage professionalism, ethical practice and generally great work. As someone new in my career, I’ve found her comments and contribution on social media encouraging and supportive – prime example: if you haven’t checked out #PowerAndInfluence yet, you must. Ella, if you’re ever in Exeter, I’d love to meet you in person for a coffee!

My primary school teacher, Gini Wells (I’ve finally done it, I didn’t call you Ms Wells!) I’ve grown up with a passion for words and always try to challenge myself. I think you were instrumental in teaching me these things (I think I still have my ‘Challenge Club’ hat somewhere) and it hasn’t been until later in life that I’ve realised this. So, thank you.

And finally, my Gran. The most passionate, elegant, kind-hearted and funny woman you could ever meet, who made the life of everyone she met that bit brighter. I strive to make her proud every single day, even though she’s not here to see it.

Show your support for International Women’s Day.

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