Posted 06/13/2018 by Causeway Asset Management,
A lot of ground work has been done in Belfast – and Northern Ireland – to cultivate and support equality for women in business. The city is flourishing with a wealth of empowered females who are blazing the trail for others following in their footsteps.
As we look at the development and positioning of Belfast as a thriving city for females in business, we speak to some of the city’s leading business women about their experiences, plans and hopes for the future.
Grainne Glenny is the founder of Boola PR, a PR company in Belfast with a client portfolio that includes global brand Airsorted and native Copeland Gin. Grainne says Belfast is “brilliant at cultivating and supporting entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.”
What’s more, Grainne and her industry peer Sarah Fox of LK Communications have established Netwerk Belfast, a free networking event providing younger and newer members of the PR and Communications industry a place to get together, create connections and learn from one another.
Women in Business, one of the most well-known and largest growing networks in Northern Ireland, has been a strong force for promoting and supporting females in business. The membership body has a female and male board and membership base, demonstrating how both sexes in Northern Ireland have placed significance on promoting and supporting equality. Women in Business hosts regular events and programmes tailored to specific areas and is a support for women who are looking to develop in their careers.
Emma Gribben, a member of Women in Business and a successful Digital Marketing Consultant says, “Belfast is an amazing place to work and there is so much talent and creativity here. I am a member of several entrepreneurship networks and I have never felt that I have been overlooked because I am a female.”
“There are so many networking events and meetups in Belfast, so it is easy to meet useful business connections and showcase the work you are doing. The Women in Business network is a great network for females and it’s great to see so many events focused on all areas of life, helping to support women in their careers.”
Sheree Atcheson, UK Expansion Director of Women Who Code and Business Consultant for Deloitte, remembers a time when Belfast knew nothing of support for women in the tech industry. That is until she introduced Women Who Code, a tech-focused membership body that has 137,000 members in over 16 countries and 60 cities around the world.
When Sheree brought Women in Code to Belfast in 2013, she spoke about how she wanted to change the idea that IT is a “man’s game” and create a place for women to be supported in this area. With 1000 members now in Belfast, it is safe to say that Sheree, and her team, are shifting this paradigm.
“A lot more women are now making noise in the tech industry and there is an increased confidence from women working in this area. You no longer need to go to San Francisco or London to see that, it is happening here too.
“Women Who Code drives community, it has provided higher statistics around employment and it is providing a group of local role models for others to look up to.”
Sheree credits companies who have supported and partnered with Women Who Code to make it the success it is today:
“Local and global companies have embraced and helped us. Women Who Code couldn’t have been successful without local tech and marketing companies sponsoring and partnering. It’s a wonderful eco-system!”
“It can only keep getting better and better,” says Sheree. “With lots of global companies now being based in Belfast and a strong start-up culture, groups can thrive from the support, sponsorship and partnership.
I’m confident that the tech industry will continually thrive and grow, and we will have more female tech leaders and software engineers as a by-product.
As for PR/Marketing and Communications led businesses, Grainne says, “In my industry, females have held their own for a long-time, climbing the career ladder, running their own agencies, chairing industry boards and I don’t think that will change any time soon.”
She continues, “I like to think the future is bright for all businesses. Young people are thriving and bringing positive leadership tactics to the forefront, which will have a trickle-down effect on the next generation. Workplaces are leaving behind traditional models and encouraging more autonomy and flexibility, so culture is moving in the right direction. Plus, new initiatives for entrepreneurs from government bodies are making business more accessible and inclusive.”
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Causeway Asset Management Limited is a UK wide, private, multi-disciplinary, real estate investment and asset management company owned and managed by its directors.
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