On International Women’s Day 2018 (IWD) we would like to share our recent catch up with two remarkable female students, Madeleine and Ilanna. Both members of the King’s Business School Business Club (KCLBC), we’ve asked Madeleine (VP Start-ups and Business) and Ilanna, (Start-ups and Business Associate) about what IWD means to them, who they look up to and how KCLBC empowers them.
Why is International Women’s Day important to you?
‘It’s a reminder to us that all women are equal to men and it’s a celebration that only pushes us further. It’s an important reminder that in the work place and in everyday life women and men should be treated the same way.’
‘I think it’s also a day to remember the women who fought for our rights and celebrate them. It’s important to remember the past and think about where we are now and what we have yet to achieve. ‘
Do you often discuss any gender issues with your class mates?
‘I don’t talk about it that much because it’s not an issue in my everyday life. It’s makes me happy to see in the Business Club we have at least 50% women, with many women in higher positions within the different areas of the club. Although it’s on a small scale, it’s a great start for women taking on higher positions in business.
There are so many company programmes for women in business and finance and it really makes us confident. I’m happy with these initiatives, but I hope soon we won’t need them as that will be a sign that women and men are equal. Being in the business world, gender has never stopped me or put me in a low position, although I am no working yet, it’s a good start that from the beginning of being in the business school and a business environment there is a sense of gender unity. ‘
‘In the finance and tech world recruiters are actively looking for more women to hire to achieve a dynamic workforce. We have so many opportunities to develop and work hard.
Events that connect women in business are great as you get the opportunity to meet women in higher positions. They understand that sometimes men can be more imposing, but we shouldn’t be afraid to speak up or ask questions. In that sense these women are great for support. Although we aren’t directly talking about gender equality I feel empowered every day, working on big events that are ours to control and grow from scratch makes me feel confident and motivated every day. ‘
Which women in business or in your life do you look up to?
‘I would say my mum. We travelled a lot growing up and she was very international. Because of this, she has pushed me to take every opportunity. Even if it’s far away you should go for what you want.’
‘I was really inspired by the director of a company I recently worked with, she’s a woman who does it all. She’s an amazing leader, she shows that you can be both kind and confident. With two kids, she’s proof that you don’t have to sacrifice anything to achieve success. ‘
Are there any companies that you look up to for their initiatives or for having women in higher positions?
‘I find it hard to know these days, without working for the company, what their day-to-day working environment is like.. A company may look great on paper, but are women allowed to speak up or do they have to work three times harder? All around the UK companies have amazing programmes, but I want to know what its like in the everyday environment.’
‘Today we see a lot of female CEO’s which is great, but we don’t know if they got there by working three times as hard as men. So, we don’t know how they’ve arrived in their position.’
How do you see yourself reaching top positions in the future?
‘I’m not sure what area I want to work in so it’s hard to say. But in general, you must give yourself the means to do it, everyone is working with their own limitations, if you need to work harder than the person next to you, you should do that.’
‘I think if I work hard people will hire me for my competencies and if someone doesn’t give me the opportunities I deserve because I am a woman, then it’s not a place I want to work in. And if everyone does that, those companies must change, otherwise they won’t survive.’
Does KCLBC have any special initiatives for women at King’s Business School?
‘Because there is a Women in Finance club already, we wouldn’t want to double up on the same sort of events. What I love about KCLBC is that it’s so equal. We don’t think about gender when recruiting new members, but when we look at the numbers it’s always an equal mix, as it should be.
While its great having the diversity we have at KCLBC, for certain industries such as finance, initiatives for women are beneficial as it can be an intimidating industry. Meeting with other women in finance is a great way to become more comfortable and prep for interviews.’
‘At King’s and KCLBC everyone is really motivated and we all have a common goal which unites us and pushes us to succeed. Because KCLBC isn’t focused on any one area of business such as finance it makes sense to have a good mix of people. It’s great having so many societies available at King’s for different experiences. ‘