Today, we are celebrating International Women’s Day 2019, promoting the importance of gender balance in the workplace.

This global day highlights the range of economic, political and social achievements made by women, as well as opening up the discussion on how we can forge a more inclusive world for the next generation.

The theme of International Women’s Day 2019 is #BalanceForBetter – a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.

At St. Modwen, we know that focusing on inclusion will allow us to create a better working environment; broadening our minds to new ideas will help us to challenge convention and embrace innovation. We will be able to better understand and reflect the views and requirements of customers and clients, and we will be able to reflect our local communities to understand them better and build better relationships.

This year, we decided to ask the women (and men) of St. Modwen a series of questions about topics from feminism to inspiration and dreams.

Answers from women:

What does feminism mean to you?

“Equality”

“Treating everyone with respect no matter what their sex. Holding the opinion and actions of fellow women in high regard, whether they are mothers, working career women or women from other cultures and countries.”

What qualities make a great leader?

“Someone who is inspirational and inclusive in their approach and able to embrace difference in the team and encourage that in others.”

“Empathy”

“Role model, talks from experience, shares knowledge”

“Conviction and perseverance, a “team” mindset, a risk taker, an excellent communicator and mutual respect – I respect them because they respect me as an individual”

“Compassion, Trust, Respect, Personable, Innovative, Ambitious, Focused, Team player.”

What is your favourite thing about being a woman?

“No different to being a man in my life/experience – bar childbirth of course”

“Emotional intelligence”

“The absolute bloody-mindedness of my tribe. We never give up. We stand up for what we believe in and each other. We will fight to the end to be heard and for the “right thing”- whether it is equal pay, the right to vote, a change in the law so we have a say over our own bodies or our children and our partner’s happiness and wellbeing. Our sense of community – why do women go to the toilet in pairs? Because it’s the best place to be for a party! Strangers laugh and share stories, hairbrushes and lipstick. That’s what’s great about being a woman.”

Are there any assumptions about women you would like to change? Why?

“My 8-year-old daughter has no concept that there are any differences between girls and boys, long may that continue. In my view, our children will be the generation that should grow up with experience of nothing but equality.”

“That we are overly emotional and that makes us weak. Wrong! That makes us strong. We can have deep and connected conversations and because our connections run so deep, we can understand what the other is feeling and thinking without saying a word. That makes us other-worldly magical beings!”

What advice would you give to your younger self?

“Be yourself, be confident in who you are and don’t try and change to please other people.”

“Mistakes are as important as achievements, they are our make-up”

How hard is it as a woman to get to where you are in your career?

“I definitely feel the property industry is changing and becoming more equal. For generations, the industry has been dominated by males but I have not struggled to progress my career in any way, I would actually go as far as saying it has helped. Being a woman in a ‘mans world’ means you are more likely to be remembered and with companies wishing to be seen at the forefront of improving equality, more steps are being taken to develop women into managerial roles, this has certainly helped me along my career path so far. There are, and I imagine there always will be, challenges with peoples opinions of women in the industry but we will continue to push for equality in the workplace.”

Any anecdotes you’d like to share about being judged as a woman and/or being raised up as a woman?

“I was brought up by a working mother and stay at home dad, all living together at home with a working grandmother and non-working grandfather. So I never had a chance to see women as less capable or typecast until I left home. Plus I went to an all girls school so again, no room for anything but feminism there!”

How does one create a supportive environment at home?

“As long as kids see everyone as equal at home and at school that’s the view on life they’ll have.”

“Listen to children, teach them the history of women in a positive manner. Instil confidence – don’t say things like “you run like a girl!”. Share household chores equally between parents so they don’t think mom does everything. Fathers take an active role – “Women’s Issues” are everyone’s issues.”

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

“Hopefully there will be no barriers for the next generation. Women are no better than men and vice versa.”

“Cost of living versus balancing independent living and raising a family.”

“The continuing fight for equal pay, breaking that still prominent glass ceiling, the struggle with mental health exuberated by social media, “fake news” and lack of women in leadership. ”

Answers from men:

What does feminism mean to you?

“Championing equality for women.”

“Feminism (and equal rights in general) to me means seeing through the stereotypes to the individuals underneath and the potential that is within each and every one of them.”

What qualities make a great leader?

“Listening, understanding, guidance, trust.”

“Leadership does not come down to gender. Some of the colleagues I respect most within the company happen to be women. The reason I have this admiration for them and feel they make great leaders comes down to their professionalism, positive attitude and willingness to help others.”

What do think would be great about being a woman?

“Being able to bring new life into the world.”

Are there any assumptions about women you would like to change? Why?

“Gender pay gap! Whilst I’m under no assumption that women can’t perform to the same level as men, it blows my mind that there are inequalities in compensation.”

“For me, the biggest assumption that needs to be challenged is that the differences between how men and women are treated in society are due to genetics. This is a convenient excuse which allows people to avoid facing up to the difficult questions about why our society inherently holds women back.”

What advice would you give to your daughter?

“Historic views of gender are changing. Embrace this change and feel empowered by the fact that true equality is becoming a reality.”

“Don’t let anybody tell you who you are or what you can and can’t do. Society will expect you to look/act/feel/think in a certain way but don’t let that stop you. Don’t be afraid to break the mould and challenge preconceptions – You can do anything you put your mind to!”

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for your children’s generation?

“Gender identity and acceptance.”

“Dealing with the pressures of instant and constant feedback through things such as social media. Social media has the potential to reinforce stereotypes rather than debunk them – the challenge will be making sure that it is used as a force for good.”

Find out more about International Women’s Day 2019, here.

Get involved on social media using #balanceforbetter and #IWD2019