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How do we Break the Bias for women in business?

March 2022

Reading time: 4 minute(s).

As International Women’s Day approaches, we’ve spoken to our Founder for her insights on being a woman in business. Laura, who began the business 10 years ago aged just 22, can certainly relate to this year’s IWD theme of breaking the bias, dealing with the numerous challenges that come with being a young woman launching a business.

 

We need to teach our girls to be bold, unapologetic and to climb trees without the fear of falling

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Who were your biggest inspirations growing up?

Inspiration, for me, comes from the everyday women around us. Women who are turning up; your friends; working mothers; the women struggling with real, everyday problems. Those are the people who really mould us. Since setting up Strand, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with and for some incredible women who’ve taught me a lot.

If I had to choose the one person who has inspired me most, it would be my mum. She has a steadfast approach to most things and can always see the brightside of any situation. As a child, I was always encouraged to shoot for the stars.

What advice would you give to women entering the PR industry?

Go for it. Irrespective of gender, it’s an exciting, fast-paced environment for anyone to cut their teeth and learn in.

Gender doesn’t necessarily have a role in that but, for young women looking to get into the sector, I’d say be a sponge. Soak up as much as you can from people already working in the industry. Marketing and PR is a wide field, so I’d encourage anyone with a genuine passion for communications to find a role that allows you to explore more than one specialism.

Once you’ve discovered where your true passion lies, build on it, read, attend events and grow your knowledge. I’m proud to support younger talent and put the foundations in place to make sure the pathway for success is clear, defined and achievable. There is no greater joy than seeing incredible young people begin to fulfil their potential.

What are the benefits of having women in leadership roles?

There are lots of statistics out there that can be used to claim why men or women are better leaders. I don’t really buy into that theory as it’s so polarising and we’re all very different people. To have an effective organisation you need a mix of men and women with different backgrounds, experiences, cultures and ages.

The more diversity you can bring into a team – particularly for creative and strategic businesses – the better the output for the client.

What are the biggest barriers, in your opinion, to gender parity in business?

The pandemic has shown that women are still the default caregivers in society, whether that is caring for young children or ageing parents. I’d like to see a change in working procedures to remove these barriers.

As managers, we need to try to relate and provide the support they need, irrespective of our own situations. We need to ask people what they require to succeed and then put the appropriate structures in place. I’d never want a member of the Strand team to miss a child’s sports day or graduation.

What does ‘Breaking the Bias’ mean for women in business?

 

Surprising people. There’s an expectation of women in marketing to be warm, giggly and fluffy-around-the-edges. This perception and stereotype can be quite damaging as it leads to women not being taken seriously. For me, Breaking the Bias is rooted in the resilience of irrespective how many times you’ve been knocked down, to keep getting up and trying as hard as you did the first time. Marketeers are strategic in their thinking and have a far-reaching impact on an organisation.

 

Ultimately, if we specifically want to support women‘s success, we need to look at how we’re raising our girls. We need to teach them to be bold, unapologetic and to climb trees without the fear of falling.

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March 2022 | Megan Mower