International Women’s Day
March 8th 2021 is International Women’s Day.
International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1911 and here at STERIS UK, we have taken the opportunity to ask our colleagues about what this day means to them.
Keep reading to see what inspires some of the women here at STERIS UK and how they have been empowered during the course of their professional lives. We also asked some of their male counterparts why they will be celebrating International Women’s Day
Sophia Bonsu – General Manager STERIS IMS
Being a part of a company that provides an integral service to the NHS will always be a career highlight for me. When I was permanently promoted as a General Manager for the STERIS IMS business, I felt that my hard work, education and interpersonal skills had been recognized.
It is always a daunting experience transitioning a legacy NHS cohort to an outsourced company, but I was honored to be the one to do this for Kingston Hospital. My skill set in project management, implementation and change management has grown immensely with this transition and I feel I was the right person to bring the Kingston SSD staff into STERIS.
Another highlight through my career was just after I graduated university with my Biomedical Science degree I was awarded a scholarship to study and train in a science research lab in Seville, Spain. I was the only woman on the team, and I was able to start a small initiative to promote STEM at local schools to encourage more girls to pursue a career in science. To know that my skills had been recognised and I had been asked to join this team was empowering and it changed my life.
Gender equality for me is getting a role because of merit, you are the best person for that role. It is not to fill in a Company’s target number. It also means having a salary that aligns to others within the same role.
We should all be free and liberated to pursue our career choices, lifestyle and opportunities without discrimination.
In terms of someone that I look up to as a role model for my own career – Bozoma Saint John is someone who inspires me.
She is currently the Chief Marketing Officer for Netflix. As a fellow Ghanaian from the diaspora her experience really resonates with me. She is breaking many boundaries, not only by using her talent to open doors from all women, especially Black women. But her philanthropic efforts at work showcase how you can contribute to your company’s corporate social responsibility.
I love to learn, meet new people, explore new cultures and ways of working. I feel I am a part of a cohort that is underrepresented in management roles. As I continue to gain more knowledge and showcase my work experience, I hope that I can inspire the younger generation of women to challenge the status quo and go for what they want without fear. That is what empowers me.
Aimee Figliolini – Marketing Executive STERIS IMS
To me, International Women’s Day is about promoting and celebrating Gender Equality. This means that however you identify, you have the freedom to pursue your own path in life without hindrance or discrimination. It means that you are treated fairly and equal in any situation regardless of your gender.
Glenn Williams – Regional Manager STERIS IMS
It is important that whoever we are, whatever gender, we can be reminded and stay mindful that gender equality should be a given in all walks of life. Each individual has the opportunity and ability to fulfil the best versions of themselves without discrimination. International Women’s Day is a great reminder that these values are shared throughout society and inspire us all in our outlook and individual actions.
Melanie Thomas – Senior Continuous Improvement Manager STERIS Healthcare
There are two highlights that I can pull out from my career; the first one was being a female influencer in my old role within the NHS where I was able to secure nearly £4 million pounds of funding to refurbish and centralise a hospitals Sterile Services and Flexible Endoscope decontamination, it hit the national press too. https://www.hdft.nhs.uk/news/ssd-opens/
The second was being asked to come and join the STERIS family. I left a 20-year career in the NHS and I have never looked back.
However, it was that long and well invested career that makes me the women and Leader I am today. I have been with STERIS nearly three years and I am loving it. I get to work with some amazing people every day.
To me “Gender Equality” is just that: ‘being equal’.
I certainly think we are a far cry away from when women stayed at home and the men went out to work, life has changed, the world has changed. This has resulted from some radical thinking as a result of some radical challenges! I find it quite amusing when sometimes women are referred to as ‘wearing the trousers now’. To me we are all equal, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation etc. To me it’s what’s in your head and your heart that really counts.
There are so many inspirations and role models for me that I couldn’t possibly mention them all!
However, one stand-out is a porter I used to work with in the NHS – he received an MBE in 2010 aged 72 years young. He was a retired firefighter and had given more than 50 years as a volunteer supporting community services!
I find that being told that I am a positive role model for others is empowering to me.
I find it quite a humbling statement really, but one that makes me feel I am a person with integrity, honesty and humility with a strong work ethic.
I also feel empowered when I am trusted by peers and other leaders working within STERIS in having the knowledge, confidence, resources and ability to do things or make decisions for myself and others in my current role.
Nolan Hodkinson – Operations Director STERIS IMS
I define gender equality, as treating every individual with the same respect and fairness regardless of their gender, where each individual enjoys the same rights and opportunities across all areas of society.
Whilst it’s important to promote and celebrate International Women’s Day, I hope that one day a separate celebration for a specific gender, race, or sexual orientation is not required, as all are treated as equals.
Kat Holt – Marketing Director STERIS Healthcare
I have been incredibly fortunate to hold lots of exciting roles throughout my life and each one has taught me new skills and given me the opportunity to work with and learn from lots of incredibly talented people.
At Department of Health, I worked with an incredible multi-disciplinary team to reduce alcohol related hospital admissions through behaviour change campaigns right through to working for a forensic mental health provider working across CAMHS and adult mental health and brain injury.
It was here I won an award for the Digital Entrepreneur of the Year! But, the highlight for me was learning from the patients themselves and their own unique journeys to recovery.
At STERIS I have been able to combine all my skills and learning into developing a role that enables me to help shape our Customer experience which is an amazing opportunity.
For me, gender equality is where we no longer need to have conversations about men and women but, instead there is an assumed balance.
Whilst I have been incredibly fortunate to work where I do, some of my friends have sadly encountered the opposite of equality. It is important we are all able to articulate equality and identify when something is not right.
There are absolutely inspirations and role models for me in my career, too many to mention both retrospectively and currently. Some I work with, others I follow via social media or though reading and research.
Learning empowers me! Knowledge empowers us all as human beings. I am not just referring to the academic routes (though they are of course valid) but learning about people, behaviour, your skills, building on your weaknesses. My daughter is now 20 but, when she was younger, I used to say to her: ‘never say no to learning, read as much as you can and always use enquiry and research to support your views’.
Now it’s a role reversal and she is one that teaches me! But that is the learning cycle.
Mandeep Dulku – Business Development Manager STERIS IMS
Gender equality can be as simple as men and women having access to the same rights and those rights are ‘applied’ equitably, in any context, whether as individuals, colleagues, employees, parents etc…
As with many celebration days, it goes without saying that it is more important to practice the principles which the celebration underpins. That said, raising and encouraging awareness through a specific celebration day highlights that whilst some positive changes have been made, there is more to do be done by all. It is important to celebrate the progress made but serves as a useful reminder of what more needs to be done to ensure women are treated equally, where inequality currently exists.