Today we celebrate International Women’s Day 2022, a day where we shine a light on the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women. The aim of the day is to spread the message of gender equality and to promote a better society where there is no gender bias. Many people do this through fundraising for female charities, hosting events, or simply celebrating themselves and their achievements.
Many may see the topic of gender equality and automatically think, ‘surely this isn't still a thing?’, and yes, whilst we've come a long way since women were simply expected to be the stay at home wife, there are still many obstacles women face in the world - especially in the workplace. The UK is known as the start-up capital of Europe, yet there is still a huge difference in the statistics between men and women in these businesses, with female-owned small businesses now accounting for just 29% of all the small businesses in the UK - meaning over 70% are still owned by men.
Female owned enterprises are on the rise, however, with an 18% rise in female-owned businesses in the last five years - showing huge potential for the future of businesswomen.
In spite of the disparities between men and women in the business world, we have seen the growth and development of many amazing businesswomen over the years, and here at the Great British Business Women Serie, we look to celebrate these successful women and encourage the meaning of International Women's Day, every day, in the workplace, and outside of that. We are on a mission to forge inclusive work cultures where women's careers thrive and their achievements are celebrated.
So, let's take a look at some of our alumni and the amazing things they've achieved as entrepreneurial women.
UpCircle is the beauty brand known for pioneering the ‘by-product beauty” trend. After discovering more than 500,000 tons of coffee grounds that are consumed each year in the UK alone are sent to landfills, she decided to start collecting coffee from cafes across London and transforming them into skincare products. Since launching, UpCircle has saved over 350 tons of coffee. The brand also rescues and reuses ingredients from the argan, tea, juice, date, olive and wood industries. UpCircle has seen staggering growth in the last five years, selling hundreds of thousands of products per year worldwide.
As well as their impressive sustainability initiatives, UpCircle is run by an 80% female workforce, showing that Anna and her co-founder Will are helping empower women in business, and encourage their goals and talents each day.
In a recent interview with Penny Bauder Anna discussed how she is also involved in speaking on speak on female-focused issues once a week.
“I’ve given careers lectures in girls’ schools, offered mentorship to teenage girls looking to start their own business, and been featured on countless podcast episodes as a guest speaker, often on the subject of female empowerment or women in business. I’ve also given frequent talks on podcasts and webinars to knowledge-share and inspire the next generation of “green” entrepreneurs.”
Karen Emanuel is the award-winning founder and CEO of the leading music services company Key Production Group, which provides industry-wide project management and specialist packaging for bands including Radiohead and brands such as Ted Baker and Puma. Starting with a few thousand pounds from a redundancy pay-out Karen has guided Key Production through 31 years of an everchanging industry. From one cold dark office and one customer to five locations and over 60 staff.
In the late-1980s, Karen took on the male-dominated music business and set about carefully building her own empire. She pushed through when music sales changed from physical units to digital downloads, then reaping the rewards when vinyl records became fashionable again. Karen is a perfect example of not letting external factors get you down, and how you can be a strong woman in business.
In an interview with Meet the Leader, Karen discussed how she pushed past the chauvinism she has received throughout her career, “I’m gobby! I’ve always been able to stand up for myself”, she said. “Also, I’m quite lucky, because I know quite a lot about football,” she says. “I’ve been a Tottenham supporter for donkey’s years, so I was able to network that way.”
These are just two of the many incredible businesswomen we have come across in recent years, who are doing things to show that women can do just as much as men in business. We love supporting the cause for International Women's Day and look forward to hearing the stories of many more businesswomen to come.