Empowering businesswomen – not for a day, for life

Empowering businesswomen – not for a day, for life

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, for some businesses offering specific support to female businesspeople is a way of life. Jen Robson and Nicola Little of Sparkle Communications explain.

International Women’s Day is dedicated to celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political success of women.

It’s the perfect way to recognise and celebrate the fabulous work that female entrepreneurs are doing. Which is something we at Sparkle strive to do all the time!

As two female directors running our own digital media agency, you’d not be surprised that we have an opinion on the need for gender equality. Firstly, it needs to be noted that we both wish that there wasn’t a need for a gender-specific celebration day. Well, unless there was a one for men too, which as far as we know there isn’t!

We’ve faced criticism (from both men and women) for launching a women’s only network for the Federation of Small Businesses. We’ve been told that by promoting a single-sex group, we’re exacerbating the problem. And we come back to the point that we wish it wasn’t necessary.

But until there’s equality, initiatives like International Women’s Day simply must continue to reinforce the message that women are as valuable as men; in business and in any other part of life.

There are very few businesses that demonstrate true equality for their male and female staff. We hear every day about women getting paid less for the same role, despite the Equal Pay Act of 2010.

What’s more, representation of women on FTSE 100 boards is just 23.5%.

Let’s not forget that there has only ever been one female Prime Minister here in the UK. And not one female president in the USA!

And even Disney Infinity has forgotten to include the female character in its latest range of toys.

Closer to home, we know that the number of female entrepreneurs here in the North East are significantly lower than men.

And confidence is a critical barrier for many. Through Sparkle Communications we meet women every day who find it really challenging to say anything positive about themselves in a business context. They are genuinely apprehensive as business leaders using digital technology to promote either themselves or their business.

And that’s why we both feel so passionately about supporting and helping other female business owners.

That’s why we set up and run networking events targeted at women (but men are welcome too!).

That’s why Jen is on the board for the genuinely fantastic organisation Little Big Butterfly whose mission is to empower women through art, drama and other creative means.

That’s why Nicola was proud to have been an ambassador and trainer for the Newcastle #wwWomen campaign, which saw her deliver digital media training to over 100 business women in the city.

And that is why we’ve teamed up with Sharon McArther of Red Handbag to create a confidence club for business women.

We genuinely feel that initiatives and celebrations like International Women’s Day will go a long way to levelling the current inequalities in the world we live in, and inspire young girls and women to go for it. And there’s nothing wrong with that; women deserve to be celebrated. As do men.

Visit SparkleCommunications.co.uk to find out more about Nicola and Jen.