Inspirational Women at Sheffield Hallam

Post by our placement student, Olivia Royston, on the recent International Women’s Day event in the Careers and Employability Centre.

International Women’s Day was such a huge success at Sheffield Hallam this year; it was truly wonderful to see so many inspiring women in one room. The first session consisted of women, in typically male dominated job roles, talking about their success within that company, and how that company strives for equality. It was really interesting to hear from Liz Ledger, from HSBC, about the tremendous steps that HSBC are taking in order to create a more balanced workforce, for example nameless CVs! Liz also gave excellent advice, which I know will have been extremely valuable to the students, on the many challenges that women have to face when juggling a career and home life.

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Following on from this was Jennifer Standish from FDM, an international ICT services company. ICT job roles are usually a male dominated workforce, which made Jennifer’s talk about her life at FDM really eye-opening about the changes companies are trying to encourage. Especially, their ‘International Girls in ICT Day’ which they run in hope to encourage girls and young women into ICT through engagement in workshops, debates and ‘smashing the stereotypes’

The final inspirational talk came from a team of women who worked for Enterprise Rent – a -Car. Hearing about their personal career paths was especially inspiring for me as it was clear to see how passionate and successful these women were at effectively balancing their busy lives. A story that stood out in particular, was one women’s personal experience of an interview she had gone for and been successful, against nine other male candidates, whilst eight months pregnant! She successfully relocated her family and went back to work full time after maternity leave whilst her husband became a stay at home dad.

Each one of these speakers contributed so much and built up such a good atmosphere ready for the next event, the Role Model Carousal! This was a great opportunity for the speakers to interact with the students. Each female speaker went round small groups of students sat on tables and discussed anything that was of interest and was able to chat about each other’s career goals and skills. This was an invaluable experience for students to open up and talk about their successes as well as inspiring each other at the same time.

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My favourite part of the day was reading about and speaking to students who have been nominated by members of staff as inspirational students. I think this really put into perspective how much of a difference female students can make in so many aspects of life. To be inspired by these students, as I was, visit this website to find out more about the women Sheffield Hallam are proud to call their students. It was superb to see such a variety of women at the event and I hope they got as much from it as I did as it was such an empowering and successful day. However, I do believe the year that we don’t need to celebrate International Women’s day will be the biggest celebration, as that will be the day we have finally reached equality.