Inspiring Inclusion this International Women’s Day

Woman smiling outdoors by trees

Here at Yorkshire Building Society, we’re dedicated to shaping a workplace where everyone feels welcome, supported, and can reach their full potential.

And, with it being International Women’s Day, we’re sharing how we uplift and celebrate the women in our workplaces – today, and every day.

Since 1911, International Women’s Day has elevated women’s platforms to challenge gender stereotypes, break biases, and recognise and commemorate women’s contributions to social, economic, cultural, and political advancements. Today, the fight for gender parity isn’t just driven by strong, determined women, but a responsibility we all share. So we can create an environment where everyone is accepted and celebrated for their true selves, regardless of gender.

That’s why this year’s theme #inspiringinclusion should spark conversations on what we’re already doing to be active allies, and what we can do more – this International Women’s Day, and every day.

'As a young Polish female, starting out in the mortgage industry was not easy. I am confident that I wouldn't be where I am in my career today were it not for my allies who have supported me along the way. They have made me feel heard, seen and valued, which has boosted my confidence and helped me believe in my abilities' - Angelika Christian

Gender stereotypes are subconscious, often generalised ideas of what traits or behaviours people should have based on certain genders, typically binary (male vs female). They can influence the way you speak to someone, the expectations you have of them, and the way you treat them.

This has historically meant women haven’t had the same opportunities as men at work. And, though we’ve come a long way, there’s still a lot of barriers to womens’ success in the workplace, sometimes invisible, which can hold them back from getting the support they need, opportunities to succeed, and reaching their full potential.

#Inspiringinclusion is all about working together towards a world where we’re all equal, regardless of gender. And that means thinking about how we can all be allies to tackling these barriers to womens’ success in the workplace.

Allyship is the act of actively supporting the rights of a minority group without being a member of it. So, this International Women’s Day, we’re asking all our colleagues, regardless of their gender, to think about any biases they may have, and reflect on how they can overcome them to support positive change for women.

We’ve planned some fantastic sessions all about asking questions and learning more about the obstacles women may face in the workplace, shedding light on womens’ experiences, and what it means to be an ally, including…

  • A session on women in tech, hosted by IT & Transformation, that’s all about looking back at the past, what this has meant historically and how it can shape our future.
  • Armchair yoga with Guneet Khurana.
  • An Allyship session with Jeremy Stockdale, the CEO of Ylead, a leadership consultancy bringing a data-driven and human-led approach to developing leaders. He draws upon two decades in the banking industry leading large teams across the UK and Africa, and his passion for leadership, Gender Equity and Allyship, combined with his extensive experience, enables him to help organisations like us.
  • A Menopause Café, where our Menopause working group offer support and a safe space for colleagues to discuss the Menopause and supporting colleagues experiencing symptoms, and enjoy a Desk Chair Yoga Session after the café!
  • An open to all Women’s Network session, where the Women’s Network will be chatting International Women’s Day and Allyship with other Colleague Network Co-chairs.

    Our Women’s Network plays a huge part in shaping our workplaces to be a place where all women can reach their full potential, and have helped us organise these events. They strive to continually challenge the barriers women face in the financial industry and help us learn more about how we can be active allies to our female colleagues.

    One of their incredible accomplishments was setting up our Menopause working group, looking to destigmatise the Menopause and encourage an open dialogue between colleagues and people leaders. We’ll also soon be launching our Menopause champions, making it easier than ever for our colleagues to reach out for support when they need it.

    We’re spending this International Women’s Day learning more about womens’ experiences at work, and what we can all do to work towards a workplace where everyone feels accepted and celebrated for their true selves, regardless of gender.

    So every colleague can reach their full potential here – without any obstacles in the way.

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