Gender Equality

“They said if all those who reached the base camp started climbing the highest peak then we all would become Everest climbers.”

27-year-old Nepalese climber, Ms Shrestha

The above quote is from a recent BBC article about 15 female Nepalese climbers who will attempt Everest this year to raise awareness, in part, around female trafficking in the area. As one in ten employers have yet to file their gender pay gap reports, I can’t help but wonder if Ms Shrestha’s comments might be applicable to the fight for equality in all aspects of the female experience?

As a woman in recruitment and a working parent, I recognise that women who come to me for consultation may open up to me about the challenges they face when job hunting without fear of judgment. I say this because a) this is how I interpret my experience and b) building trust in a business capacity is absolutely vital and I am more than happy to share my personal working circumstances and often do. 

I am committed to supporting my candidates so that both genders are open to opportunities from an equal footing. I am incredibly excited about the increase in momentum around gender equality but I am equally concerned about some of the misconceptions that still exist.

For example, a female Financial Controller came to me recently to register, with the hope of securing a more senior role.  She lives in Surrey and currently works in the City. She has been actively interviewing but has been ‘pipped at the post’ a couple of times. Nothing about what she had told me by this point was unusual. Securing the right role takes an investment of time and an offer is not always immediate. What incensed me on her behalf was that of the multiple interviews she had attended (based on a first, second and final interview process) she had a) only met men b) lost out on offers to men and c) had been asked in every single meeting whether she ‘needed’ flexibility.

This is where gender equality feels a little bit like Everest. I was with a woman who had children (as did her partner, in fact, they had had them together) and had full-time childcare (again, a shared responsibility), who was looking for the next step in her career. The word career is not a gender-specific role. While women, physically, do give birth, there are a variety of family nuclei. Single parents (male and female), same-sex, foster, adoptive, multi-generational…etc. There are also women who embrace the right to choose and do not have children.

Everest for me is the ingrained attitudes that need to change. Why do we assume that women are the primary caregivers, why do we assume that they have children, why do we assume that they are not ambitious, why do we assume that their career does not come first?

If you would like to engage with a recruitment business that is for gender equality and will help you climb Everest then do drop us an e-mail or, better still, call to arrange a meeting. We would very much like to assist you with your further career development!

Estha Heiden

April 2018