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On International Women's Day we are putting women centre stage to show you what it's like to work at Utrecht City Concepts (our mother brand)
International Women’s Day
As I drop my bag on my desk and turn on the lights in the office, I notice something that I never noticed before: there is only one desk with a higher desk chair. It’s our intern’s chair, who is, coincidentally, the only man in the office. This little detail, in all its insignificance, triggers a feeling I know all too well as a woman in a professional environment: gratitude.
I am grateful that, when confronted with gender differences in the workplace, is never because I feel overlooked, belittled or not taken seriously. I never feel like I should be shutting up when I want to speak up (thank you, Sheryl Sandberg) and I was never denied a growth opportunity because I am a woman.
On a day like today, International Women’s Day, I am reminded that the way I feel when I am at work is not yet universal. That, unlike at Utrecht City Concepts, the majority of management in small and medium businesses is not female. Showing up to a Technology in Hospitality conference with my (female) colleague and being the only two women in the room was another reminder of this. Today, only 32% of small businesses report having over 65% female managers (Future of Business Survey, 2017).
This is all the more astounding when you look at some of the innate capabilities of women in the workplace. Women are great at getting a team on the same page, and better than their male counterparts at engaging their employees and more involved with the progress and development of their employees. As employees, women tend to be more engaged as well (Business Insider, 2014). So why aren’t all companies hiring more women? Are small and medium businesses not as adamant about pursuing gender equality in the workplace simply because they are not watched as closely as the big companies? I cannot come up with a satisfying answer to these questions.
However, on International Women’s Day I am reminded of how proud I am to be working for a company that values competences, potential, initiative and personality over gender. A company that leads change by setting the right example effortlessly.
Stephanie Thijssen, Marketing Manager at Utrecht City Concepts