What woman inspires you and why? Has this changed over the years?
The first who comes to mind is my mother Rena and this has never changed. In fact, it has become more and more obvious over the years. Fiercely independent, a feminist, she championed women’s rights and despite working full time and raising 5 children she found the time to volunteer at a local women’s shelter, attend pressure groups for women’s rights and ensured that my sisters and I never even thought of our gender as a barrier.
How do you feel about how women are represented in the media and pop culture today?
I’m not sure, I like it that they are represented and we see more of them but still feel there is enormous pressure on women to look a certain way and not show their age.
What challenges do you think women tend to face day to day?
I still feel that in most cases women are still scrutinised in the work place and have to prove themselves. Those wanting to start a family risk losing their career and for those who have a young family, work/life balance is incredibly difficult.
What do you believe will be the biggest challenge facing the current generation of women who are just entering the working world now?
Well, I guess this really depends what field we’re looking at. I know in academia there are still areas that are predominantly male oriented, so progressing here as a female requires complete dedication and determination and can feel very solitary.
What is the most positive change you’ve seen for women who work, compared to when you first started your business over 20 years ago?
When I started over 20 years ago my Bank Manager didn’t take me or my business seriously at all … and I am being polite here. I would like to think that these days, even though I feel women still have to prove themselves at least they don’t have to endure unabashed sexist behaviour.
Which men do you think are doing their part for women’s equality?
I think I’m going to go with Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation I genuinely feel they do even more then they say, starting at the very core which is family planning – something many of us women in the Western world take for granted.
Why do you think it is important to celebrate Intl Women’s Day?
I’m all for celebrations, it’s a focus and it’s happy. But seriously, when you think that it was only as recently as the early 1900’s that Women’s Day was even thought about; Celebrating equality, raising awareness, fighting sexism, championing pioneering women has to be celebrated because such big strides have been made but there is still so much to do and learn.