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| 2 minutes read

Empowering skills on International Women's Day

As we approach International Women’s Day, a significant milestone on the DEI calendar for most organisations, I was intrigued, and would even go as far as to say taken aback, by the theme for this year: Inspire Inclusion. Not because it’s a 'bad' theme but more about the implication that women have to ‘inspire’ to be included. Now, I appreciate that the notion here is that everyone should be inspiring inclusion, the onus isn’t just on women, but it did motivate me to look at how other organisations might interact with the theme this year in both their celebrations but also their message.

The UK Parliament talks about the ‘Economic inclusion of women’, similarly the United Nations, which first officially recognised International Women's Day back in 1977, have opted for ‘Invest in women: Accelerate progress’. Both of these instantly grabbed my attention and got me thinking about empowerment, skills and my own career journey.

Whilst I now have the great privilege of leading the UK&I business for AMS, a leading global provider of talent acquisition services, my background lies in technology from my days in IBM where I started my career as a Software Engineer ‘way back’. I learnt so much right from the get go of my career which was an early lesson for me in embracing all learning in the workplace, genuinely to take advantage of it, as you get to not only learn through some fantastic training modules but you also get to apply it too. 

All of that constitutes the acceleration of your learning and progress. Whilst I was fortunate to go onto many different business leadership roles across my career, including Board member of IBM UK, the ability to soak up as much learning along the way is a material ingredient on that path to progress.

But the question still stands, how does my 30 years’ experience in the tech sector translate into my current position as an Executive member of a global RPO and talent advisory organisation. The answer, it doesn’t. Or at least that is what we are often, women and men, led to believe. Your future prospects and career options are often defined by your past experiences and history, not the skills you have collected and honed along the way. 

I have a fundamental belief that, despite the career roadmaps we put in place, there is no one route to anywhere and the focus on skills is what’s important! I think I could be considered evidence of that!

I have always been a passionate advocate of the skills-based agenda, empowering both businesses and individuals to look beyond the background and instead focus on the talent needed for tomorrow – something which I truly believe will help level the playing field, especially when we look at the numbers of women at C-Suite positions and roles traditionally held by men in certain sectors. The reality is that unless we change the pipeline and think differently about it, then the statistics around gender equality and parity in the workplace won’t move at the rate we all know they can and should.

The latest ‘Women on Boards and Beyond’ report from MSCI detailed that women held 25.8% of board seats at large and mid-cap companies, up from 24.5% in 2022, but growth had slowed compared to previous years. Whilst clearly disappointing, we (and by this I mean the collective ‘we’) should continue to be bold in our investment, relentless in our pursuit for talent above all else and committed in our approach to empower women to become the next generation of key decision makers, because only then can we call ourselves real advocates of change who have ‘inspired inclusion’.

Learn more about tech skilling and finding the right skills in your organization.


ams, diversity equity inclusion, leadership