Sheffield councillor speaks out in support of women aiming for top jobs for International Women’s Day

Written by Nuria Mateus

A Sheffield councillor has spoken out to encourage women to aim for executive roles in honour of International Women’s Day 2021.

Councillor Mary Lea, Cabinet Member for Culture, Parks and Leisure, said: “We have all fought long and hard, but the fight has not been won as attitudes persist. Negative attitudes appear very embedded. Women sometimes do not feel entitled, and they should.”

“Go for it, persist, you will probably have to work harder than men, find your allies, as I said there is a certain level of entitlement that women do not have and men do,” she said.

On the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy Statement, Sheffield City Council outlined their vision about the topic.

They said: “Promoting equality of opportunity, means creating an environment where people have the chance to achieve their potential, free from barriers, prejudice and discrimination.”

“Inclusion and equality are not about ‘treating everyone the same’ but recognising that everyone is different, and that people’s needs are met in different ways. This can be as a citizen, customer or employee.”

In an ideal world, such values should be granted, however the statistics still contradict this perspective.

According to recent ONS figures, the female population in Sheffield outnumbers the male, but other indicators like ‘occupation’ show that, while 10.4 per cent of men are managers, directors and senior officials, only 6.2 per cent of women are employed in such roles.

Meanwhile at the University of Sheffield, staff were asked to participate in the movement “#ChooseToChallenge” to celebrate women’s achievements made in spite of additional obstacles posed by the pandemic.

Gill Valentine, Provost and Deputy Vice-Chancellor said: “I’m proud of the progress we have made as a University but there is more we must do. We all have a role to play in building a more gender-balanced world. Identifying, celebrating and increasing visibility of women’s achievements can help forge equality.”

The UN theme, ‘Women in Leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world’, also addressed this topic.

“We need women’s representation that reflects all women and girls in all their diversity and abilities, and across all cultural, social, economic and political situations. This is the only way we will get real societal change that incorporates women in decision-making as equals and benefits us all,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director.

Written by Nuria Mateus

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