Posted 08/03/2021

International Women's Day 2021

#ChooseToChallenge that only women can forge gender parity. Gender equality isn’t just a women’s issue.

A new global study conducted by Ipsos in collaboration with the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London and International Women’s Day finds that three in five (60%) British men agree that women won’t achieve equality unless they also take action to support them.

We agree that gender equality isn’t just a women’s issue. To celebrate IWD 2021, we caught up with some of our fantastic male colleagues to see how they support the women in their lives to help forge gender equality at home and in the workplace.

Frank Klepping, Development Director said:

"Supporting women‘s rights and challenging gender inequality can take many forms. On a professional level, this continues to be at the forefront of our thinking. For example, within the development team, despite operating in a majority male sector, approximately 50% of our permanent staff employed in the last 4 years are women, and we continue to work for greater representation in senior roles. Our influence also extends externally as Swan has signed up to a speaker diversity pledge committing us to support diverse events with speakers from under-represented groups in the industry including women.

Proactively encouraging women into the team, providing supportive working arrangements, and casting the message to others, are steps in supporting gender equality. However, IWD continues to highlight that the challenges of gender inequality and broader societal issues persist.

On a personal note, growing up in an environment where physical and psychological abuse towards women was part of everyday life, I have a vivid awareness of the suffering such issues can cause and the ongoing need for action and change. I’m thankful for the IWD movement continuing to raise awareness to address these issues and accelerate achieving women’s equality."

Andrew Joyce, Senior Development Manager spoke about how as a couple with dual careers, he thinks that it is important that he supports his wife by sharing childcare responsibilities and what Covid-19 and working from home together has taught him. He said:

“Swan’s progressive attitude towards work life balance, encourages equality at home by the opportunity of shared responsibilities, irrespective of the family structure. Being trusted to leave the office an hour early to pick up the children, for instance, allows me to deconstruct their day with them and has enabled my wife the opportunity to freely develop her career without guilt, which in turn has increased our mutual respect.

Sharing the same workspace with my wife over the last year has shown me the way in which other industries function. It has, largely, been a positive experience working next to her; seeing how she navigates difficult situations (and having it explained to me), sharing knowledge and ideas. I’m now under no illusion that I don’t always have the right answers and a different viewpoint ultimately produces a more considered and robust result.”

Alex Westbrook, Systems Developer in our IT department told us about how he chose to share parental leave when his baby daughter was born.

He said: ” The clincher for both of us was the fact that we didn’t have to take the time separately, passing the baby between us like a domestic relay baton, but could both be at home simultaneously and have a month together, all three of us together as a new family.”

While Adeyemi Adelekan, Community Development Officer, said: 

“Actively supporting women is extremely important in promoting gender equality. This is widespread and must be considered not just in the workplace but also in our personal lives.

I have consistently supported and encouraged my wife to develop her career through actively seeking a role local to home in order for her to be able to work in London. This meant completing school runs and being responsible for childcare.

Within the workplace I have made an active effort to ensure the women I work with have their voice heard and are recognised and credited for their input and achievements. This includes nominating for recognition incentives which in turn resulted in a colleague being awarded a gift voucher as well as nominating a resident for the Basildon Volunteering award for her hard work and contribution to our community, winning the inspirational resident award.”

Ade also recently organised and encouraged our female residents from Laindon and Basildon to take part in a computer training to empower them and put them in a better position to compete for jobs. On completion they were all awarded City & Guilds Certificates and a free laptop.