As part of Russam’s longstanding commitment to diversity in the workplace, and more specifically in the boardroom, Russam is partnering up with the Women’s Association to host a talk with Fiona Clutterbuck the only female chair of a bank in the U.K. This event inscribes itself in Russam’s long running commitment to diversity in the workplace and a fairer world, which includes many events held in the past years such as “The Building-Blocks of Diversity” or “Board Diversity: Inspiring a New Generation” both events which contributed to the conversation on the need for a more inclusive workplace.
In the run-up to this event, we have decided to put the limelight on Deborah Obaseki, the Women’s Association founder. She came up with the idea of a women’s association in a troubled moment of her life, but the project gave her a deep sense of purpose and passion to help other women and other girls on a larger scale. The association was officialy founded in June 2018 and has ever since been promoting and fighting for the rights of women in the workplace through conversation and collaboration.
When we asked what truly motivated her to found this association, she said that after talking with many women in different corporate environments, she felt a strong need to empower not only the women of the next generation but also those in the workplace today. She also realized that the only way to tackle gender inequality is by fighting it as a community. The woman’s association is a place where women can share their stories and inspire others by their successes but also through their mistakes. She first started to talk to women in these different corporate environments through interviews for her dissertation on women in management. This led her to realize that she wanted everyone to hear these stories that she was hearing to bring about greater awareness of these problems. Some confess that because of lack of support within their work environment they had to leaves their jobs, others broke down in tears when talking to her about their experiences. She believes that by giving them a space to share these experiences, this would lead many more women to give themselves the credit which they are rightly due.
Her greatest difficulty when starting this association was where to start. There were so many problems that needed addressing, domestic violence, girls in Third-World countries that weren’t getting proper education, it was hard to choose which to begin with. Also, as one can imagine, hearing these testimonies on a daily basis and learning of the many problems that her colleagues encounter can sometimes be mentally draining. Deborah told us that what really motivated her to continue no matter what was the feedback she gets from many of the talks she gives. She mentioned specifically one girl at a school where she was invited to speak say that her speech was the highlight of her semester and that the talk had been very meaningful to them.
In an age where women are currently paid 86p to 1 pound for every man, and in which it would take more than a century to bridge the gap at the current rate, there is an imperative need for entities like the Women’s Association and individuals like Deborah Obaseki.
by Cathy Kay
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