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International Women’s Day: Women urged to take charge of their careers


This year’s International Women’s Day, which occurred on Friday 8 March 2013, implored women to take charge of their careers and not rely on their employers or others to take responsibility for their career progression.

This comes after a recent survey revealed that 63% of HR leaders would like to see women take more ownership of their career advancement and become more pro-active with climbing the corporate ladder. Sadly, it seems that many female middle managers are leaving the responsibility for their career progression largely down to their employers.

The research, Focus on the Pipeline, was conducted by Everywoman and Alexander Mann Solutions and highlighted that many women are not driving their own careers, to the detriment of not only themselves but also to the British economy.

Encouraging women to become more pro-active with their career development is at the heart of a new campaign called ‘Ambition Hour’ delivered by the Everywoman network. This has been launched to support women to take time out to think about their own career objectives and take action to achieve their goals.

Co-founder of Everywoman, Maxine Benson, commented:- “HR leaders are keen to improve the talent pipeline of women in their businesses and see more women driving their career. One of the most effective ways of doing this is to give women the tools they need to take charge of their own development.”

It has long been acknowledged that many women neglect to promote their talents, skills and abilities to any great extent, which leaves them at a disadvantage when it comes to career progression.  Many fear looking ‘pushy’ or lack the self belief that they can perform at the next level. Some women simply don’t give themselves the time to focus on their ambitions as they are too busy with their other roles such as partner, mother, daughter, friend etc.

Perhaps the time has come for women to devote more time to thinking about what they want from the world of work; any training and support that can be given to help with this should be welcomed. The Ambition Hour is a good start, however, women need to also realise that they possess extremely valuable skills which the British economy needs to thrive. As the popular saying goes ‘don’t hide your light under a bushel’, hopefully this new campaign will help women to shine their light more brightly.

Minister for Women and Equalities, Jo Swinson, commented: “Drawing on women’s talents is crucial to grow our economy, and the Government is already taking a range of steps to help remove the barriers that hold women back”.

She added: -“Think, Act, Report is a voluntary scheme that encourages companies to think about women's equality in the workplace and now covers 1.3 million employees. We are also extending the right to request flexible working and changing the system of shared parental leave”

Swinson concluded by saying:-“The everywoman Network Ambition Hour campaign is vital in helping develop the skills of future female leaders. While government can help reform the business environment, encouraging women to invest time in planning their careers will result in a stronger pipeline of talented women coming through that will benefit everyone.”

Author: Karen Osborn is a highly experienced National Account Manager working in the Learning & Development arena on bespoke development programmes and organisational culture. Karen leads and creates effective learning & development programmes for a range of clients at leading training consultants, Thales Training & Consultancy.

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