International Women's Day 2023: How Irish business owners #EmbraceEquity

International Women's Day 2023: How Irish business owners #EmbraceEquity

Posted: Wed 8th Mar 2023

For 2023, International Women's Day (8 March) sees the theme turn to #EmbraceEquity. The campaign explains it like this:

"Equity isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. A focus on gender equity needs to be part of every society's DNA. And it's critical to understand the difference between equity and equality. The IWD 2023 campaign theme drives worldwide understanding why equal opportunities aren't enough!"

We asked some of our Irish women in business to give us an example of gender equity in their business or home life.

Tara Elzingre, owner of Parene and Enterprise Nation's Local Leader for Cork:

As a business owner, and mom to three aged four and under, I rely a lot on my husband to not only take on his share of the caring role, but also the mental load that comes with it. There are longstanding assumptions about fathers that perpetuate systemic inequities.

Moms aren't pre-programmed with the capacity to parent any more than fathers. We both recognise the journey we're on and how we need to collaborate and hold each other accountable for raising our children while navigating our careers.

In business, I'm on a mission to create real change for moms as business owners. There is a real gender disparity in terms of funding and support for female business owners. Greater gender equity through business funding would promote more innovation, a culture of creativity, and increased profitability.

We could commit to improving this by creating a more inclusive funding process, offering support and mentorship to female-led industries, and paying closer attention to the composition of business start-ups by women.

Sarah-Marie Rust, CEO and founder of EVE:

With EVE, we support Trinity College Dublin's Women Who Wow initiative, which provides mentorship and guidance to young female students who are interested in starting their own businesses.

Síne Dunne, owner of Siest Sleep:

Normally I find these questions easy. As a female business owner I've become comfortable showing how I work with mostly female-owned businesses and am involved in many female networks.

But when I look for examples of equity, it's opened my eyes further. Because really I'm drowning in privilege as an educated white woman.

So my reply isn't a top list of what to emulate. It's a list of what I need to do:

  • Speak up more when I see another white-only women panel at an event.

  • Focus more on minority-owned businesses in Ireland at networking events. This can also be about age – women over 50 with start-ups. Most people in this age group are overlooked unless they have decades of experience. Why do we link "youth" to fresh ideas?

  • When hiring for projects, expand job briefs to focus on equity. Pipeline expansion is a useful first step for equity.

Linda Monahan, owner of Corporate to Calm:

Covid has been an absolute gift to our house and the balance of chores and childminding. We sit down every Sunday and see who needs to be where for the kids' drop-offs and my workshops, training, networking and his corporate job. This 15-minute conversation saves a load of time during the week.

My partner is still working a lot from home. He uses the school drop-off as his commute to work and he grabs me a coffee on the way home. This allows me to pave a clear work path from 8am and I don't get sidetracked by schoolground politics. I'm clear until 2.30pm – it's been so impactful on my journey.

Sarah Naylor, owner of Sarah Naylor Academy:

An example of inequality just last week. I was riding high, had just bagged myself a place in the Lift Ireland Awards, got offered a presenting gig on Dublin City FM, delivered two sold-out courses to bored, broke teenagers and ran free classes for marginalised girls in Clondalkin. And my husband wanted to know why I forgot to buy toilet roll?!

Samantha Kelly, owner of Tweeting Goddess:

My husband is a wonderful support to me and he does the dishes and the vacuuming regularly, which helps me do what I do. And I'm a female angler, which people might associate more with men.

Gillian Daly, owner of Gillian Daly Communications:

I always use fairness and impartiality when choosing freelancers to work with as part of my business and offer the same respect that I would like to see in return.

There's no certain type who can do a job best and getting the perspective and skills from someone else is often very valuable – gender doesn't really come into it.

As a mother of both a girl and a boy, at home my husband and I try to ensure that gender equity is present in how we all contribute to the household. Domestic chores are equal and everybody does a little bit of everything.

There are no 'girl jobs' and 'boy jobs' – just jobs that need done. Sport is also taken just as seriously for both and the increase in visibility of female sport is something that's celebrated and encouraged in our house.

Relevant resources

Enterprise Nation has helped thousands of people start and grow their businesses. Led by founder, Emma Jones CBE, Enterprise Nation connects you to the resources and expertise to help you succeed.

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