Odyssey Systems hosted a women in business event on International Women’s Day (Tuesday 8th March) and examined how, for many, the pandemic has changed their outlook on life.
The Tees Valley Women in Business group, which met for the first time in more than two years at the telecommunication company’s Stockton headquarters, also debated the pros and cons of working from home as opposed to a return to the workplace.
The forum, which involved 14 of the area’s leading businesswomen representing a range of sectors, concluded that the pandemic had caused them to take the opportunity to reassess their lives and, in some cases, their priorities.
Members also felt that the widespread introduction of the technology that allowed employees to work from home during the pandemic will have a positive long-term impact on women by enabling a more flexible working life.
Christine Gilbert, director of Odyssey Systems, said: “There was an equal split around the table among those whose priorities had changed, especially during lockdown, and who wish to address their work life balance by spending more time at home.
“Meanwhile, there were other women who couldn’t wait to return to the office or workplace and resume their ‘normal’ lives once again.
“However, they noted that before the pandemic most employers, as well as employees, wouldn’t have considered the possibility of remote working. The technology making this possible is now in widespread use and as a result, attitudes have completely changed – offering greater opportunities and possibilities for women.”
She said that the majority of the forum felt that International Women’s Day had a positive effect in celebrating women’s achievements and highlighting just how far society has come since 1918, when the Representation of the People Act allowed women over the age of 30 to vote.
Christine added: “The women here felt that they have succeeded in their business careers because of their talent and expertise – something that is applicable to both sexes.
“International Women’s Day is a celebration – but the real message should be that those with determination and ability will succeed, whatever their gender.
“Both men and women can fall victim to conscious or unconscious bias – whether it is due to their class, accent or educational background, but thankfully modern businesses are simply focused on the best person for the job.
“This highlights just how far equal rights have come since 1918 and that in the 21st century Britain is very much a more inclusive society.”