The theme of this year's International Women's Day is "embrace equity" – with the aim to get the world talking about why equal opportunities are no longer enough. Read on to find out what embracing equity means for two of the Azured team, our Marketing Director, Elsa Cheshire, and resident Cat Herder, Laura Peters.
Photo caption: Yes, we are drinking Prosecco at a children's party, in a children's tiny kitchen. Maintaining a balance if you will...
I sit here writing this with my cat herder hat on – which roughly translates into content writer, social media manager, in-house designer…and lots of herding cats to boot.
But I wear a few other hats, too: mum, partner, friend, sister, auntie, eco warrior, plastic free advocate, sustainable lifestyle & refill store owner. Of course, there are days when motherhood stands firmly in the way of work and well, everything else: the extra childcare responsibilities, housework, the mental load (or cognitive labour), and managing all the emotions that come with that.
There’s no i in team.
I’ve always sought to strike the right balance; a career-minded gal who also wanted a family, and a job full of the things that made my heart happy and the thought of a busy week, worthwhile. It feels like it’s all coming together rather beautifully but there’s one thing that makes all of that possible: the support and understanding of the whole team.
We’re only a small team but our weekly meetings cover everything from culture, politics, sports, mental health, the environment, reusable period pants, and the moon and its impact on energies and menstrual cycles… (and we have to take this moment to give a shout out to the lads for not even raising a single eyebrow as we discuss things definitely outside of their comfort zone!).
As the only two girls on the team, we like to think we bring a certain je ne sais quoi to the team, what with our colourful jumpers and, wait for it… our MacBooks. But jokes aside, we’re both shareholders with a lot of influence around the way that we do things. We have a voice, and it’s valued. You can’t really ask for much more than that.
No, we’re not actually sisters. But there are two of us. When it comes to celebrating International Women’s Day, there’s absolutely no way I couldn’t mention the Jedi to my Padawan, Elsa. Every girl needs a leader like Els; inspiring, motivating, calming… and an incredible copywriter and marketing guru which, quite frankly, really solidifies things. She’s been by my side since I left university and she offered me my first paid marketing job. Props to you, sister.
As our marketing director who also sits on the board, Elsa takes on a full whack of responsibilities, from planning our day-to-day marketing activity to developing and working towards our longer term strategy; our mission and vision, what we stand for and the way we do things. But it doesn’t end there. She’s also a mum, step-mum, partner, auntie, godmother, friend, owner of a creative marketing agency, editor of an environmental magazine – and she makes an excellent curry. We're also very lucky and full of gratitude for our boys, who are both ten. There are just six weeks between, and they have forged the most beautiful friendship – even though there are some 360-miles between them.
I feel grateful to be able to sit around a table with a team (and amongst a company culture) that offers me the flexibility I need to flourish in all aspects of my life – while honouring the ebbs and flows of my natural rhythm. It means I can work around my childcare needs (school pick-ups, sick days and sports days), mental health needs (burnout and ADHD are both really common in women like me) – while keeping my local community in natural cleaning brushes, plastic-free lentils and refillable washing up liquid (which is so good for my soul). Ah, the sweet joy.
Our team firmly believes in gender equity; it’s not just an empty statement emblazoned across our company stationery, we hear it, and we feel it.
So, to all women out there feeling the pressures of juggling the modern-day work / life, mental health challenges, societal pressures, and the notion of “having it all”, we hope this shows that with the right people around you, it is possible.
And remember, dream big – and NEVER be afraid to take up space.