International Women's Day 2022
Chesterfield Equality and Diversity Forum is encouraging local people to celebrate inspirational women in the community to help mark International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8 March.
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.
In line with this year’s theme of #BreakTheBias, the Equality and Diversity Forum, which is supported by Chesterfield Borough Council, has been speaking to local women who are doing just that – by making their mark and successfully building a career in industries that are usually male dominated.
Councillor Tricia Gilby, Leader of Chesterfield Borough Council, said: “We’re proud that the council continues to support the Equality and Diversity Forum’s range of activities to promote equality and celebrate diversity in Chesterfield.
“This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is Break the Bias, and I am pleased that the council has a diverse and inclusive workforce that continues to put our communities first in everything we do.”
As part of the activities this year, students at Chesterfield College who are key partners with the forum, have taken the opportunity to produce a series of short clips highlighting how they are working to #BreakTheBias.
The council is supporting the forum in showcasing these fantastic videos as part of their activities for International Women’s Day. You can see the video clips on our YouTube channel. The council also has a strong track record of offering opportunities to women across the organisation.
The forum has also linked with the Chesterfield Community Fire Station.
Joanna Raisin, Chesterfield Community Fire Station
Joanna Raisin, watch manager at Chesterfield Community Fire Station, said: “I’ve been in the fire service for 19 years. What I really love about my job is the variety – every day is different and we don’t know what we will be coming into.
"We could be going to a house fire, water rescue, road traffic collision, or carrying out prevention work in the community, so we have got to be prepared for everything.
"My career in the fire service began in 2003 in the 999 emergency control room, but I soon got the idea that I wanted to be a firefighter after seeing other females doing it, learning more about the role and seeing the team working.
“Eight percent of Derbyshire’s firefighters are women. This figure is above the UK national average, with positive action work continuing to promote the role to other females.
"I think one of the barriers for women sometimes is that they lack in confidence. You do need to be fit and have physical strength but there are many other qualities that make a good firefighter."
Find out more information about the role of a firefighter.
Sarah Lomas, Chesterfield Borough Council
Sarah Lomas works as a fleet and facilities assistant at Chesterfield Borough Council since 2019, after joining from Royal Mail’s fleet department. She is a firm believer that women should consider a career in predominantly male job roles and help to break the bias.
She explained: “I will always encourage woman to do any job they want, regardless of whether it is a traditionally male role or not. From a very young age I have always been vocal that I could do whatever the boys could do. This mentality has followed me my entire life and is something that has always been nurtured by the strong female role models I am surrounded by.
"I was always encouraged that I could do anything I put my mind to and to never accept being told I couldn’t because of my gender.”
Shradha Mishra, Mace Consult
Originally from Chesterfield, Shradha Mishra works as a senior project manager (education: universities sector) at Mace Consult (multidisciplinary consultancy).
She commented: “If I'm honest, I haven't faced any challenge being female in a predominantly male industry.
"I have been extremely fortunate to start my career in a university where I was given a wealth of support and understanding, even with my lack of technical knowledge, and working with sophisticated contractors who provided the time and support to help me understand all the processes.
"Construction is an ever-evolving industry, and though it is still very male driven, the management aspects of the industry have considerably diversified over the last decade where there is a greater acknowledgement that with time and support, anyone can get involved in the industry and excel.”
Tracy Ellson, AVK UK Ltd
Tracy Ellson is a sales operations manager at AVK UK Ltd, one of the leading manufacturers of valves, hydrants, pipe fittings and accessories. Despite facing gender bias, Tracy is helping to #BreaktheBias.
Tracy commented: “I initially applied for the job which was as an admin and customer service role. However, as the role progressed there was a need for the team to develop technically to support with our customers technical requirements. As time went on, I realised the world of valves was extremely interesting and something I wanted to develop a career in. I therefore moved into the projects team, which allowed me to get involved in bidding for some large projects.
“I have had to deal with some challenges when dealing with technical queries from male contractors and designers, who seem to have a lack of trust in what they are being told by a female in our industry. I remember one gentleman telling me ‘You won’t be able to help me, I need to speak to your technical manager can you get “him” to call me!’
“It was also very much a case of feeling out of place as a female when out on site visits, but luckily things have change over the years and women in construction and the utilities industries are now seen as equals. It’s extremely encouraging to see so many more females on the sites and I know lots of companies now run campaigns to promote women in construction.
“My message to women wanting to venture into a male dominated industry would be don’t be afraid to show people what you can offer. If you are passionate, it matters not if you are male or female. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion either, speak up and be heard. Just go for it and show them what you are made of!”
Ellizeh Bennett, Chesterfield College
Ellizeh Bennett is a lecturer in construction, design and innovation at Chesterfield College. Ellizeh commented: “I love working in the construction industry and it’s something I’ve been very passionate about from a young age.
"From studying at college and university, and working in the industry, I realised that I had a passion for teaching and that I wanted to help people coming into the construction industry – both men and women.
“To any women looking to study or work in construction or any traditionally male dominated industry, I’d say to give yourself time to see what is available out there – we need more women in our industry and you will be highly valued. Stereotypes show working in construction as a dirty and physically demanding job but there is a wide range of roles, suitable for both women and men, so make sure you look beyond those stereotypes.”
Julie Richards, Chesterfield College
Heather, Chesterfield College
Olivia, Chesterfield College
Each year, Chesterfield Equality and Diversity Forum organises a number of public events and training sessions to raise awareness of local equality issues and celebrate diversity. Chesterfield Borough Council supports and facilitates the forum and are committed to the delivery of these events as demonstrated in the Council Plan.
The forum is open to anyone with an interest in promoting equality and continues to with local community groups, partners and individuals to promote equality, share ideas and raise awareness of equality and diversity.
They also engage with local people on equalities matters relating to the wider community as well as Chesterfield Borough Council’s policies and activities.
To find out more about how you can get involved with the forum contact firstname.lastname@example.org.