Sarah Cripps, Marcela Lopez, Frances Aggrey, Isabel Conde-Arias and Felicity White braved the snow and ice to travel to Belfast to take part in two days of celebrations. In total, 20 women from different companies within W& R Barnett came together to take part in the events.
The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2023 was ‘Embrace Equity’.
Following lunch on the first day, the W&R Barnett contingent took part in a session entitled ‘Embrace the Spirit’.
A fun element to the session saw participants having to talk to three different people in the room, each time telling a different story about ‘Who Am I’.
During the afternoon, the group also explored why ‘equity’ as opposed to ‘equality’ is so important.
Explaining what is meant by equity, the IWD website says: “Equity can be defined as giving everyone what they need to be successful. In other words, it's not giving everyone the exact same thing.
“If we give everyone the exact same thing, expecting that will make people equal, it assumes that everyone started out in the same place - and this can be vastly inaccurate because everyone isn't the same.”
Tailoring solutions to meet the needs of an individual rather than applying the same solutions to everyone was a key message. An example of this in action has been the adoption of flexible working policies within W&R Barnett. Another example is the subject of childcare and not assuming that this is something that is a factor for all women.
Next on the agenda to ‘Embrace Nature’ – and despite the icy cold weather - was an hour’s hydro-biking on the River Lagan, organised by Lagan Adventures.
The women were joined by CEO William Barnett for this unique water sports experience, a great way to see the historic Belfast waterfront including the Harland and Wolf cranes, Obel Tower, historic bridges, canal structure and much more.
The hydro-biking was followed by much needed Black Forest Hot Chocolates!
The evening took the theme ‘Embrace the Celebration’ and included a lovely dinner in the private dining space at Waterman House in the city, providing a further opportunity to meet colleagues from across the group and share stories with each other.
As Marcela said: “It was great to be able to relax in each other’s company. It wasn’t about which office you are from, but about hearing each other’s experiences and challenges, enriching our knowledge.”
The first day also saw the group collect £195 for the charity Refuge – which was increased to £1,000 by W&R Barnett.
On Friday morning, the group travelled to the Institute of Directors’ Women’s Leadership Conference at the Crowne Plaza in Belfast attended by over 500 delegates.