Social enterprises are all about creating a more gender-equal world. But how far have we come and how do we get there?
On Monday 8th March, we’re bringing the social enterprise community together to educate, inspire and advise.
We aim to do this through stories and different perspectives from the social enterprise sector on how we can be more inclusive and fight gender inequality.
The goal is to bring the social enterprise movement together for women through collecting video footage from across our male and female membership and partners. Through sharing learning and experiences about what has happened in the past we can learn from and support each other to build a gender-equal world.
This is by no means an action only for women and a key part of our campaign is to involve men both as allies and champions of gender equality.
Follow our video footage on Twitter here.
If you’d prefer to read some of our members answer read the below:
1. What shift have you seen in the past 10 years in terms of equality and representation in the workplace?
“Sexually inappropriate behaviour in the workplace being brought to light through the MeToo movement. Up until that time, I had suffered in silence knowing that how I was being treated as a violation of all my boundaries- but was told it was normal and just the way to secure work and keep a job. I noticed that after the movement took wave, a lot of men that I had worked for resigned before they were outed. This to me indicated a large shift in culture and what is considered ‘normal’ to accept or not.” – Natalie Armitage, Project Manager at The Ubele Initiative
“I have seen women speak out a lot more and not yo be afraid to challenge the status quo. I work in a male-dominated industry and I have seen more women who are celebrated for their differences in farming and agriculture.” – Lauren Le Franc, Founder at The Little Coffee Company
“Progress has been slow, especially in engineering and other STEM areas. However, women have made great strides in medicine, law and numerous other professions. And we finally have a female vice president in the U.S!” – Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, Vice President at Wisconsin Technical College System, USA
“For more than 10 years I have been running my own business and have not required external funding, so unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to see any first-hand changes.” – Kresse Wesling, Co-Founder at Elvis & Kresse
2. As a woman, tell us a brief story about when you witnessed gender inequalities at work (2 minutes max).
I once went to a meeting about Gender Justice and of 25 people, I was the only woman at the table! I went to the UN Headquarters to talk about the gender pay gap, and in the meeting, the leaders from Norway and Canada leading this initiative- were all men. This was considered progress as finally men are beginning to talk about toxic masculinity, although I don’t think it can replace women in the process. I think this happens a lot- where the language of gender inequality is so fluent, the action is actually to talk over them! I really hope that just being able to talk about gender inequality, excuses not living it in action. – Natalie Armitage, Project Manager at The Ubele Initiative
“I see the negative impact of gender equality in the communities I work in. It takes longer for a woman to own her own farm and often she is less likely to be able to support her family. In Kenya, most of the men own the coffee trees and this has many negative implications on women as they are financially excluded.” – Lauren Le Franc, Founder at The Little Coffee Company
“There have been many examples of gender inequity in my career in higher education administration – too many to mention in two minutes!” – Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, Vice President at Wisconsin Technical College System, USA
“In my first job, which involved technology investment, I was asked to meet with a senior member of the military (not in the UK) and flew to a different country for the meeting. My name isn’t particularly gendered and when the military organisers realised that I was a woman the meeting was cancelled.” Kresse Wesling, Co-Founder at Elvis & Kresse se
3. 1-way women can show up for other women in the social enterprise sector
“Repost, share stories, refer clients.” – Laura Rana, Founder at Khushi Kantha
“Creating opportunities for women to use their existing skills to generate sustainable incomes, by building a market for them.” – Laura Rana, Founder at Khushi Kantha
“Support women-owned businesses!” – Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, Vice President at Wisconsin Technical College System, USA
“Hire and pay them well!” – Kresse Wesling, Co-Founder at Elvis & Kresse
4. What needs to change to create a gender-equal world in 1 word?
Resource jobs by talking to people who don’t come from your background! I come from a background where no one in my family had any networks in the working profession I wanted to be in, I had to meet and source connections myself. If you don’t come from a privileged section of society where networks with employers are common- it is really hard to find opportunities or be informed of them by word of mouth. People tend to refer to people they know, so if you are able to let someone know of opportunities who you ordinarily might not reach out to – please do. – Natalie Armitage, Project Manager at The Ubele Initiative
5. What needs to change to create a gender-equal world in 1 word?
Binaries! – Natalie Armitage, Project Manager at The Ubele Initiative
“Dignity” – Laura Rana, Founder at Khushi Kantha
“I believe in intersectionalism so gender equality is one factor but climate change also has to be addressed as the environmental impact disproportionately affects women.” – Lauren Le Franc, Founder at The Little Coffee Company
“RESPECT.” – Dr. Julie Furst-Bowe, Vice President at Wisconsin Technical College System, USA
“Empathy” – Kresse Wesling, Co-Founder at Elvis & Kresse