SLH celebrates International Women’s Day with inspiring stories from our staff

Published: 8 March 2021 

Today it’s International Women’s Day 2021 and we are marking the occasion by speaking to three amazing women in our organisation who tell us about their experiences and the inspirational women who have had the biggest influence on their lives. 

Catherine George is one of our neighbourhood management officers within the neighbourhood services team. Catherine has worked at SLH for over four years and has developed a strong relationship with the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), after completing her Level 4 qualification as part of the Graduate Employment Mentoring (GEM) Programme. She is now a member of the CIH Futures Board. Catherine explains her positive experience of women in housing, her female influences and why gender equality is so important:  

What women has positively impacted your career?  

“During my career in housing, I have been lucky to work with a number of women who have positively impacted my progression in the sector. Every day at SLH I work alongside many fantastic women in the neighbourhood services team, who have guided and helped me to develop within housing management. 

Who is your female role model?  

My biggest female influence in life is my mum, and my nan when she was still with us. Growing up, I was close to them both, and got many of my core values from themNo dream or ambition was ever too big for encouragement, and witnessing their strength in overcoming hardship inspires me every day. I am also a massive fan of Michelle Obama (do I even need to elaborate?) and the work of Leilani Farhaformer UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, and Global Director for ‘The Shift.  

 Do you think women have achieved workplace equality in 2021?  

There is no doubt that there has been a positive change for women in the workplace. Women’s representation in the workforce is growing, and there has been an increase in companies appointing more women to both senior leadership roles, and as board members. Women’s representation in politics has also reached a high, with 33% of seats held in the House of Commons, and 27% of seats held in the House of Lords. However, there is no doubt that there is still work to be done.  

Kayleigh Adams has worked at SLH for over six years. She has recently started a new position as Governance and Regulation Manager. Alongside which, she is currently undergoing a company secretary course with the Chartered Institute of Governance (ICSA). She believes International Women’s Day means celebrating the success of women whilst inspiring the next generation:  

What woman has positively impacted your career?  

“Whilst there have been many women who have positively impacted my career to date, I find it difficult to answer with just one woman. My gran was a nurse and worked all her life. I think both she and my mum have had a big impact on my work ethic. The women that I have worked with and have been managed by throughout my career so far, have also positively impacted me and taught me a lot. 

Why do we need more leadership?  

Women bring different perspectives and skills which I believe drives effective business. We need women to inspire the next generation so that they can see what is achievable and how barriers previously in place can be removed.” 

Who is your female role model?  

 “I don’t have an individual role model as such, but I am inspired by many women daily. One person who has inspired me recently is Claire Sanderson, editor-in-chief of Women’s Health. Recently listened to her talk about the experiences and challenges in her career and how she overcame these, which I found to be very inspiring.” 

 Do you think women have achieved workplace equality in 2021?  

"Not yet I think some sectors are closer than others but there’s still a way to go.” 

Julie Marsh is SLH’s Executive Director of Neighbourhood Management. She has worked in housing for over 38 years. Here she discusses what gender equality in the workplace means to her:  

What progress have you seen on gender equality in your life and work?  

“I have definitely seen more women working in departments which had been traditionally male dominated such as, development and assets. There is also an increase of female staff at a senior level within more organisations." 

Why do we need more women in leadership?  

“Women should be given and have access to the same opportunities as men. It should be fair across the board for everyone, regardless of gender. We need more female leaders to continue to change the perception of who can lead and what qualities are required.” 

Who is your female role model?  

“Our Chief Executive, Julie Fadden, who has led by example and shown you can have a career at the same time as raising a family whilst also continuing to study, and for this reason she is my female role model.  

Julie both develops those around her and encourages self-development. Having such a positive, confident and calm leader inspires me every day. Since Julie came to SLH, myself and my fellow colleagues have been given so many opportunities which have enabled us to develop and take on challenges which previously would not have been available.” 

Do you think women have achieved workplace equality in 2021?  

“I recently read that Covid-19 has reversed the important gains made over the last decade. To still be reading and hearing about gender pay differences and the shortage of professional opportunities for women at senior levels, then noI don’t think we have achieved equality in 2021.” 

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