IWD2020: Celine Crawford
We proud to be supporting International Women’s Day 2020. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.
We interviewed Celine Crawford, Chief Communications Officer at Smarkets.
The theme for IWD2020 is #EachforEqual. Have you experienced gender stereotypes/gender bias in a professional context? If so, how have you been able to challenge this?
In my first banking jobs, a very male dominated industry walking on the trading floor was synonymous with being a secretary and earning respect for being anything more was a battle. Women worked against other women and more than once were sex jokes directed at me. More than this though, when it came to ‘entertaining’ clients often other males, I was kept out of the loop since this often involved places excluded to women. This meant I was behind in information flow, opportunities and constantly watching my back. It was very difficult to combat this early on in my experience and going to HR didn’t mean seem like an option. As I grew in my career, I built allies and started to speak out so it became less of an issue. I feel this is critical in early career and needs to change.
What does equality in the workplace look like for you?
At Smarkets we champion transparency pay. This is a great way to combat the gender and racial pay gap and ensures no one is getting unfair treatment. It also builds confidence for people to understand their value. This transparency also goes a long way with how you communicate with employees and ensures you are building a meritocracy.
If you mentor professionals at the early stages of their careers, do they/have they encountered different equality issues than you experienced at the same stage in your career? What changes have you seen?
I do mentor professionals and the biggest issue they tend to have issues with are intimidating power dynamics from male superiors compared to male colleagues who receive preferential treatment and are worried to speak out for fear of losing their jobs. Another issue, is young passionate women being branded as emotional and opportunities given to male counterparts who are seen as calmer. I believe this varies widely depending on the industry but I have seen change in managers appreciating more the importance of emotional intelligence, the importance of neuro diversity and simply the duty of creating a workplace with psychological safety.
How do you think parental leave should be approached in 2020?
Parental leave is very personal but critical in the life of the parents especially when coming back to work. We are still so behind compared to Scandinavian countries but I am very proud of what Smarkets is doing on that front. In addition to paid leave we offer:
* 5 days emergency nannying paid annually
* Parents room
* 75% of counselling paid for if needed on return
When I came back from maternity leave counselling was a great way to help me manage a high stress job and the new foray into motherhood.
Do you feel social media has influenced a positive shift change for female leadership?
I believe social media has had a positive impact as more and more people are speaking out and standing up. This builds confidence and awareness. There are great social accounts to follow like the Female Lead for example. I believe in using social media as a source for good but of course am acutely aware that sometimes it isn’t!
If yes, has there been any particular stories that have resonated with you?
The Female lead often highlights great women such as Katherine Johnson that was instrumental in a historical Nasa rocket launch.
Inclusive Boards ensures we have diversity on the boards of companies and we see wonderful women leading and paying it forward to.
What have you or your business implemented to achieve positive changes for an equal workforce?
Completely Transparent pay to fill any gaps\n75 % Counselling paid by the company\n5 emergency nannying paid by company\nParents room\nMeditation room\nFlexible hours
Is there a business that you admire for their positive approach to an equal workforce? If so, who and why?
I don’t think one company has figured it all out but taking initiatives from several companies I admire Monzo hiring such a strong Diversity and Inclusion lead, Goldman Sachs refusing to IPO companies that have an all male board, Blackrock for having the most women on their board. In the end, transparency and meritocracy are high on my list as well as flexible work.
Please note that all commentary and opinions provided are those of the individual, and not the organisation/company they are employed by.