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International Women’s Day – ensuring that actions speak louder than words

Joanna Oakley, Operations Director at Advantage Group UK, reflects on the importance of walking the walk, as well as talking the talk!

Advantage Group UK joins many organisations on March 8th to celebrate and recognise the contribution of the talented women we have in our business.

According to Google, searches for the term “International Women’s Day” declined between 2018 and 2019, suggesting that the public knew what IWD was.  And according to a recent article published by We Are Social, there was a 20% increase in conversations about International Women’s Day in the same timeframe.

However, many people are starting to ask, has International Women’s Day become more about words than about action.

For me, I would like to think not.  Over the course of the last 12 months, Advantage Group UK has revised many of its corporate policies that impact women.  These include maternity (as well as paternity), adoption, and bereavement policies.

We have also improved our remote working and flexible working criteria, making them fairer and consistent across the organisation.

I am also proud that two thirds of our UK Board Management Board roles are held by women - Charlotte Fisher (Group Managing Director) and myself (Group Operations Director).  Furthermore, 50%  of our Senior Leadership Team are women.


In 2020 the work continues and April sees us join ASPCo’s Women in Recruitment initiative.

Women in Recruitment was formed to give all recruitment firms practical support in attracting, developing and retaining female talent.  It gives all female employees of member firms access to unique development tools, mentoring and networking opportunities designed to support successful and sustainable careers in recruitment.

Joining Women in Recruitment is a tangible demonstration of our commitment to gender equality throughout our business.

But while the celebration of International Women’s Day plays a big part in our corporate calendar, it’s important to recognise that, even as women, we are all different.  As Rosie Pond, Research & Insight Analyst at We Are Social reminds us, it’s important not to stereotype.

In line with our corporate values, we will therefore continue our work of empowerment, enabling our female colleagues to speak for themselves and individually determine how they celebrate this day.

For me personally, as that second woman on our UK Board, I take this opportunity and day of celebration to thank not only the strong women I have around me, both at home and in the workplace, but also my husband for supporting me, championing me, and being there for me when I get home late.

Without him and the many fabulous men in my family and at work, I would not be able to do what I do.

Happy International Women's Day!