UX Designer at This is Milk
At the beginning of this year, I was lucky enough to be one of the twenty women accepted onto Women’s Enterprise Scotland Digital Leadership Programme. Back then I had no idea that the programme would have such a profound effect on me, nor that it would result in launching my very own podcast.
The Leadership programme worked like this: Over 6 weeks, 20 of us met once a week to explore a different topic. The subjects we discussed ranged from strategy, planning, management and persuasion, to diversity, well-being, resilience and inclusion. The sessions were facilitated by a different leader each week. Each one left a mark on me. It was a seriously inspiring collection of women.
As the weeks passed, my knowledge grew and I felt my confidence do the same. Being in the company of such amazing female leaders was helping me work out the kind of leader I aspire to be.
It wasn’t just my self-belief that was changing, the lens through which I saw the world was starting to shift too. I was seeing things from a new perspective and analysing topics that I hadn’t had much chance to discuss. For example, the impact of Covid on women, racism, or simply that we make less effort with our appearance when working remotely (let’s be honest!).
Then came the week when were set a challenge. We were asked to create a project that would make our current place of work more diverse and inclusive, particularly for women.
Now I admit that I'm in a rare and privileged position working for This is Milk. The founder and MD of my company is Angela Prentner-Smith. Not only did I have an inspiring female role model, at the time This is Milk was an 80% female team. I was unsure what my plan was going to be. Then I met the incredible Phoena Matovu (if you don’t know her, look her up immediately!).
Pheona led a workshop, and as part of it, she asked us to share our experience of discrimination in the workplace. As I was reflecting, it dawned on me that discrimination is something that I've experienced since day one of my working life, but I'd never had the chance to share my experiences publicly before. As the group started to talk, experiences of discrimination started to flow. While I was relieved that I was not alone, I was also enraged that this was still happening to all of us in 2021.
Yes, 2021. Of course, we should feel secure and comfortable in the workplace. Yes, it’s our right to focus on our work and what we are good at. No, we shouldn't still need to have this conversation. But the sobering reality is that that the pandemic has made women even more vulnerable. 47% of mothers are more likely to have permanently lost their jobs or resigned due to COVID. The gender pay gap has widened. Women do still not feel safe walking home alone. Cases of domestic violence have risen sharply.
As my anger grew, an idea of what I could do to help started to build too. I decided that I wanted to give those who have suffered from discrimination a voice. Because I firmly believe that talking about discrimination is one of the most powerful tools in raising awareness and challenging unconscious bias. And that was when my Fair Tales podcast was born.
Fair Tales is a podcast where people can share their experiences of discrimination in the workplace and make a positive impact through conversation. I’ve just released episode 4 and have had the privilege of talking to some exceptional guests so far. It may be one little thing I'm doing, but if each of us does one little thing, I believe our collective voices can turn into a roar for real change.
You can listen to Fair Tales on Soundcloud, Spotify and Apple. Link here: @fairtales.podcast | Linktree
Follow Fair Tales on Instagram @fairtales.podcast