“Each one of us – with women, men and non-binary people joining forces – can be a leader within our own spheres of influence by taking bold pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Through purposeful collaboration, we can help women advance and unleash the limitless potential offered to economies the world over.”
At Interface we are conscious and proactive in the work we do both externally in supporting women led organisations, and internally with supporting staff development.
International Women’s Day comes at very pertinent time for me as I have been lucky enough over the past six months to have been participating in Aurora, a women only leadership development programme for the Higher Education sector. Aurora was born in 2013 from research that highlighted how under-represented women were in senior leadership positions. The programme aims to encourage more women to plan and prepare better for leadership roles at an early point in their careers.
And what a motivating journey it has been! Meeting once a month, 200 women from across Scotland come together to focus on key areas associated with leadership success with opportunities to share experiences of our own career journeys. Across the development days I have met some wonderful women with whom I wish every success in forging their leadership roles and inspiring those around them.
Last month at the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards the two categories which recognise individuals in knowledge exchange, Outstanding Contribution and Building Skills, were both won by women. This was a first for the Oustanding Contribution award but makes it two years running for the Building Skills award. A huge congratulations to Professor Lee Innes of the Moredun Research Institute and Lee-Anne McGee of Ivan Wood & Sons for taking home these coveted awards!
Many of the projects facilitated by Interface underpin the key themes of environmental sustainability, equality and social inclusion. One particular focus is to take a proactive approach to reduce gender imbalance. Our analysis of the applications to the Innovation Voucher Scheme in 2015/16, demonstrate that 1 in 3 company applicants are women (31%) which compares very favourably when benchmarked against similar schemes where 1 in 7 applications are from females. On the other side of the partnership, 31% of collaborative projects we facilitate are led by women academics.
I’m in a very fortunate position of being surrounded by positivity towards promoting and supporting gender balance so today I’m going to be bold and take action to celebrate women’s achievements and champion women’s education.
How will you #BeBoldForChange?