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International Women's Day

October 02, 2020

It seems extraordinary that in 2018, some 6,000 years after the first forms of civilisation began, that we need to have an international women’s day. It seems preposterous that we need to set aside a day to recognise and celebrate all of the achievements women have made over the years. And it is sad that we need such a day to highlight all of the injustice and abuse, women around the world still suffer. But as we have heard so often over the last few months; we are where we are.

We are in a society that does not treat everyone equally. We are in a society in which women are not afforded the same opportunities as men. And we are in a society where women are discriminated against, the gender pay gap and the Times Up movement in Hollywood are prime examples of this. On this international women’s day, I want to talk about what action we can take to try and change things. I believe that we can all make a difference. Perhaps one day we’ll negate the need for a dedicated women’s day at all.

Over the last four years I have been lucky enough to be able to make a difference in my local community. I work in a technical role here at Auto Trader and we give back to our local communities in many ways. We do this through our partnership with Forever Manchester, through our volunteering days, which an impressive 1 in 4 of our employees have utilised to help out all manner of local charities and we also do this through our involvement with local schools, colleges and universities.

Something which I am particularly passionate about is helping to inspire the next generation of women into technology. I have seen it numerous times where if you give a group of young women the opportunity to explore all of the great potential that they have, the results are amazing. At a recent event we hosted here at Auto Trader we saw a room full of young women, many of whom had no previous coding experience, collaborate, persevere and produce some amazing and wonderful concepts, all they needed was the space and encouragement to achieve great things.

I believe that all children should be inspired to achieve everything that they can, but I also believe that young women need that bit of extra help as they so often underestimate their own abilities. Over the years I have run code clubs in primary schools, facilitated mock interviews, organised experience days, and I believe that through doing this I have made a difference, but not even necessarily through the activities, actually by just by being there, by engaging with the young women and trying to show them that they can do anything they set their minds to. I believe the real benefit I have provided is by just being a positive role model.

Positive role models are something that everyone needs but not something which every child has access to. Within the society that we live in, positive female roles models may not always be available. Television and media rarely provide them, but we can all make a difference. The idea that you yourself can be a role model may not feel very comfortable, I know it took me a while to get used to it, but in reality, anyone with passion about a subject can be a role model. All people really want to see is someone that they can relate to, that is all it really takes to be a role model in my opinion. So, what is stopping you from getting out there and making a difference? Volunteering doesn’t need to be time-consuming, it can be as simple as reaching out to your local school or library. There are also numerous charities and nationwide organisations focused on this exact idea.

If you are able to help make even one child believe that they can do something which they didn’t think they could, then that truly would be phenomenal! And hopefully bring us a step closer to a more equal and diverse society.