Comment from Jo Samuels, Managing Director of Jems Recruitment:
“A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey, but a woman of strength knows it is in the journey where she will become strong.”
I wrote a blog on International Women’s Day in 2018 on how being a working mum shaped the values of my business, sharing the Jems’ journey. Well, 4 years on and some major global events later, it’s been a real time of reflection for many, including myself. We have seen and are currently seeing women of courage and strength around the world. For me personally, I have seen my then 9-year old daughter become a strong, semi-independent young woman whilst continuing to run my business through the strangest of times and markets. According to the Women and the UK Economy Report, published this month, women now make up over 49% of the workforce in the UK and 10% of mothers aged 25-44 in a couple said remote working meant they could enter work or increase their hours since February 2020. The employment rate for women in the UK is higher than other countries and it is also estimated that in the UK, women-led SMEs contribute about £85 billion to economic output (16% of the UK SME approximate Gross Value Added total). Some impressive stats for women to be proud of.
As a business owner for the past 13 years and mum of two teenagers, the demands have been great and spare time has been short. I think a lot of people have been feeling this recently and I can only speak from my own experience. The past few years have been intense and challenging at times; with highs and lows, but it has also made me realise that if you possess an underlying determination, you can achieve anything that you put your mind to. I still learn something new daily, being pushed out of my comfort zone. I love navigating these situations the most. And looking back at my post from 4 years ago, the challenges of when I first set up the business seem like an alternate life and I’m sure in another 4 years I will be saying the same thing, when my children will officially be adults.
Working from home for the past 2 years has blended work and home more. Whilst it’s been harder to switch off from work, it’s also been fantastic to see the children more and be more immersed in their daily lives, and for them to see “mum at work” daily, rather than the odd time they popped into the office previously. They hear my conversations, they see me typing, they absorb the ethos of the business and how I work, as well as how I manage a team remotely. They can see the fine balance between work and home, and for my daughter, how it is possible to be a successful woman in business and how hard I work at it. For my son, the lessons may be far greater; that he sees my husband and I working in our respective jobs that both are equally as important to us, that we work together as a team to share the load at home - imbalance in any way would tip the scales and it just wouldn’t work. And hopefully my son will become a real advocate for equality in the workplace having seen this first hand as a young adult.
So, despite the challenges we may face and to millions of women around the world, our resilience, determination, hard work and excellent organisational ability allows us to achieve many successes on a daily basis, something to really celebrate!