Time to celebrate our women

BalanceForBetter International Womens Day Designate

Time to celebrate our women

I am proud of our record of employing strong independent people, some of whom arrived with their own very unique characteristics and some who simply didn’t know who they were, but found a place to grow and nurture in the melting pot that is our world here at Designate.

As we approach International Women’s Day I am bloody happy that I can comfortably say nobody in our history has been employed based on their race, gender, sexual orientation, the way they look, their health, their physical ability, the food they eat, their religious orientation or whether they choose to drink or not. The last one is a lie. I remember the horror when we discovered a man called Mark had snuck in under the radar as a teetotaller. Unfortunately this didn’t come to light until we were having a particularly raucous and strange Christmas party in Amsterdam. It was the naughties, and we liked to party.

From day one we had our own recruitment policy. You must be an individual. Be interested. Be challenging and ultimately be yourself. We cared about who you are, not what you are, or what you have done.

So with a current ratio of 70% female employees, a 25% female board and a 100% female management team we are looking pretty good. However is our #balanceforbetter balanced? Or are we now flagging up that we are too female? Or are we just good. Sadly, I know that we are relatively unique.

We live in Brighton, and Brighton is gloriously inclusive. It therefore appeals to, and attracts people who feel the same way. In fact I am pretty sure that in Brighton we live in a bit of a bubble.

Now, I have never liked labels. I for one do not particularly enjoy being labelled as a ‘vegan’. To choose a plant-based diet is my preferred choice of describing what I decide goes into my body. Alas, the label exists and it gives some people something to get excited by. For what reason, I don’t fully understand. It’s my body, my choice, therefore my decision – not yours.

I guess we are all guilty of labelling. It is hard not to jump on a bandwagon. But how far do we take the label thing? Is cheese only cheese if it is made with a form of animal product? Whatever it is made of it is ultimately food. Is an electric car no longer a car because it doesn’t have an engine? Ultimately it is still a vehicle. How can music exist across so many formats including live? Does it become not music when it is on a TDK Cassette tape? Women are simply humans, Vegan is a choice of consumption of food, and for some a way of life. Welsh, is where I am from, some would still argue that this in itself makes me inhuman.

I asked a few people at Designate what they think of International Women’s Day and here’s what they said –

Jason dials it up a level: 
“The key is in the word ‘International’. Whilst the issue of gender bias and the associated anachronisms of stereotyping and discrimination in all its forms is top of mind in the UK, that is certainly not the case in much of the rest of the world. There is a clear need to have a global perspective on this. We all need to make a conscious effort to do better in achieving genuine equality. For everyone.”

Miriam agrees 
“Feminism is often massively misunderstood as for women only, but it’s equality for all. Which is Brighton, all over. I wonder if it can be a celebration and a dedication to continue to strive for equality in the spirit of BN1.”

Dan comes back to our world:
“As a white middle aged male born in the South East of England, I don’t particularly like labels, let alone to be defined by them. I feel even more awkward writing about them. And here are some more: Polish, French, Mauritian-Filipino, Spanish, Essex, pregnant, mother, married, unmarried, full-time, part-time, religious, atheist, LBTGQI, straight, over-fifty, millennial – all of which are represented by the women at Designate. But they have more important denominators – they’re great people, they’re doing an awesome job, and their diversity of background brings something extra to our company. And crucially they’ve taken the opportunity at Designate and run with it. Which is why International Women’s Day is important and should be celebrated and supported. That opportunity doesn’t exist elsewhere in the world. It should, because, and we’re the proof, it’s made our world a better place.”

It is indeed my view that it is a shame that we have the need to label everything. But of course, I understand that for some, it is required. Perhaps it is more the need for some that we have to have a hook, or a brand. And what a powerful brand or hook International Women’s Day has become.

I expect it will be a wonderful day on Friday. Our friendly radio station 1BTN is having an all female day and we will definitely be tuning in on 101.4FM – while coincidentally launching our own sponsorship of Fridays safe in the knowledge that we have got it right at Designate. 

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