Home / The Rix & Kay Blog / Rix & Kay reflections on International Women’s Day 2024
Scott Garner

Practice Manager

12th March 2024

Rix & Kay reflections on IWD24

International Women’s Day is over for another year. We invited our professionals to share their thoughts on what International Women’s Day means to them, who has inspired inclusion throughout their careers, and what can be done to keep inspiring inclusion throughout the years to come.

Lynn Marlow (Employment Paralegal)

On International Women’s Day, I like to acknowledge all women, in whatever country around the world, who are not fortunate enough to enjoy the many freedoms and privileges that so many of us in the UK take for granted. Let us celebrate our independence and ability to make our own choices while remembering, today and every day, those in this country and worldwide who do not enjoy these freedoms.

Those who do not have the right to receive an education; to work outside the home, to declare and celebrate their sexuality; to dress as they please; to choose their life partner, of whatever gender and/or sexuality; to drive a car or travel alone; to choose their own career path, or have a career at all; to earn their own money and have a say in their own life choices; to have a seat at the table in corporate or political spheres; whose voice is unheard.

I would like to celebrate the work of Dr Jalikatu Mustapha who graduated from the University of Nairobi and trained as an ophthalmologist with Sightsavers. Dr Jalikatu is the only female ophthalmologist in Sierra Leone and was recently appointed its Deputy Health Minister. While working to improve general health care throughout the country, she champions women’s eye care and better access to eye health services. Traditionally, it has been harder for women than men to access eye health services in Sierra Leone. By targeting women more with health campaigns and offering free outreach services for women and girls, Dr Jalikatu is encouraging them to go to hospital for screening and/or surgery or treatment, if this is required. Dr Jalikatu became manager of Sierra Leone’s national eyecare programme in 2020 and, in recognition of her work, received an Eye Health Hero award from the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

Jenny Reardon (Head of GatekeeperHR)

My career in HR started over 35 years ago when I was interviewed by the General Manager and Operations Manager – both female – of a major milk processing company. As my career developed they supported me financially and practically to undertake a Postgraduate Diploma in HR and gave me the opportunity to be involved with both the operational and strategic aspects of the business. Fast forward to 2024 and having maintained a professional and personal relationship for over three decades with the Operations Manager, who is now the Vice President of a multi-billion-dollar business in Melbourne, I can reflect on how inspirational she has been throughout my career, providing advice and guidance and demonstrating that the ‘glass ceiling’ for women can be shattered with determination, resilience and self-belief.

Antonia Wright (Post-Completions Assistant)

There are so many women who inspire me on a daily basis, it’s difficult to choose but my children, both girls, 16 and 17 years old inspire me every day.

Their strength and tenacity in dealing with the world each day is inspiring.  How things have changed since I was their age.  The opportunities they have now are so wide reaching and will enable them to fly with their chosen careers.  They know for sure that their identity as women will not stop them achieving their goals and I cannot wait to see them thrive as adults.

Georgina Henderson (Commercial Property Solicitor)

Law has, historically, been a male dominated industry. However, things are changing steadily.

  • The proportion of women in law firms has risen from 48% in 2015 to 53% in 2023;
  • 62% of solicitors are women.

Although the figures are trending in the right direction, I still feel like not a lot of law firms have any policies specifically to promote gender equality, or even disability equality at the moment. It’s all well and good that women are encouraged into the profession more now, but the profession is based on the premise of men doing the job, and there has been no alterations for women where now society expects us to be both bread winners and home makers at the same time.

Thankfully, I work at a firm that supports and encourages diversity; almost 75% of Rix & Kay’s employees are women, and 50% of the leadership and managerial team are women. I’m aware that that’s not the case everywhere.

I think generally as a society we need to do better as women are being failed in more ways than just work, from medical bias to safety testing to office air conditioning. There is a misconception that women are the weaker gender under a patriarchal society, however I think all evidence of what any woman in modern society deals with on a day to day basis would dispel that notion quite quickly.

Alex Bull (Marketing Executive)

Inclusion within the workplace is a topic very close to my heart, mainly because I know how hard things can be when you aren’t included.

I was diagnosed with ADHD and ASD in my early twenties, after dropping out of university at age 19 (because my undiagnosed ADHD brain struggled to focus on my studies). I returned to education some years later, during which I got diagnosed at age 24 (ADHD) and 25 (ASD).

My job history probably doesn’t look much better; I bounced between jobs, never quite managing to thrive in the workplace. From sexual harassment from managers, to struggling with understanding social cues of colleagues, to trouble communicating what I needed to in the workplace, I would always find myself lacking for one reason or another. I was constantly in environments that asked me to be flexible on things I couldn’t be flexible with. I was asked to bend and bend until I couldn’t bend any more. Eventually, all the bending broke me, and once it broke me, I couldn’t stay in the job any longer. I didn’t want to be a job-hopper, but my other option was to stay in an environment in which I suffered mentally and emotionally.

I was worried my education history would count against me in an interview. That no one would want a drop-out. I was worried my job history would count against me. That I’d be viewed as a flaky job-hopper. I was worried my disabilities would count against me. That I’d be viewed as an issue instead of the solution to an issue.

When I first interviewed for Rix & Kay in June 2023, my education history came up during my interview. It made me so anxious, and I was convinced that I didn’t get the job because of that. But in reality, my interviewers, Richard Cripps and Scott Garner, treated it only as a passing curious comment. I was able to demonstrate my skills in the interview, my passion for marketing, and it felt like they focused on the person in front of them instead of issues I’d experienced almost a decade prior.

When I first told HR about my disabilities, it was treated like no big deal – I cannot describe my relief. When I joined I found out my manager had already signed up and started a course so he could better work around and accommodate my disabilities, I was amazed – I hadn’t encountered a manager who was so proactive before. I won’t lie and say it’s been smooth sailing the whole way through. There’s been a learning curve for me and my colleagues as we figure out how to communicate with each other – I’ve butted heads and said the wrong things before, but this firm is the first job I’ve worked at that really allowed for me to be myself. But I’ve never worked in a place that was so open to new ideas, so considerate of other people’s differences, and so dedicated to constantly improving – not just with inclusion of women, not just disabilities, but in every capacity.

What’s next?

To round off our celebrations of International Women’s Day, Angela Arnold, our Residential Property Partner, is joining the discussion panel at Herstory III. Join Angela and other talented women for Herstory III.