In Guest Blog

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Trudi Scrivener: Ambassador for Health and Wellbeing  

 

International Women’s Day 2022

Working in the care sector I am fortunate enough to witness daily acts of kindness, inclusivity and above all caring and I am usually surrounded by inspiring women who learn from each other and celebrate each other’s differences.  The care sector is a female-heavy sector in which men and women work alongside each other with the overriding objective to care for vulnerable and less able individuals so they can live life to the full.  But there is still a lot of work to be done for this work to be recognised and valued by general society.

As an employer of women, championing female rights and celebrating our differences is key to my business strategy.  Caring is still perceived by many as unskilled work and I am constantly campaigning for fairer wages and encouraging women to invest in their self-development and be confident to speak out about their aspirations.  It is important to be open in a healthy workplace and communication is still a much-underrated tool.  Female carers are more likely to suffer from anxiety or depression than women in the general population.  It is important for all women to look after their mental health.  Carers UK has information about looking after your mental health and I would encourage anyone worrying in silence to use their social network to talk to others.  In these uncertain times connecting with others is more important than ever. Either pick up the phone, send a WhatsApp message or better still, meet a friend for a walk in the fresh air.

Breaking the bias 

International Women’s Day is part of Women’s History Month (taking place throughout March) and celebrates the achievements of women and raises awareness of gender equality.  This year the focus is all about breaking the bias and I try and run my company with that in mind.  Looking back on history so many women had to break the mould to break the gender stereotype and being open and flexible can benefit everybody.  One of my newest team members is new mum, Ali.  We created a PA carer role for Ali and her client, a lovely independent lady living with dementia.  Ali used to run a busy village shop and post office but wanted to adapt her working day as she was pregnant with her first child.  Ali commented: “I see my client regularly on certain days of the week for a few hours each visit when my daughter is in nursery, it works really well for everyone.  My lady still has her own independence, in her own home in the safe knowledge that I can help her.”

By working with Ali’s needs and skill set and matching them with a client who passionately wanted to remain independent we have enabled a Mum to start down a new career path and meet the client’s needs.

I passionately believe that by being flexible and offering diverse new working ways we can celebrate women in every role of their life.

My hope is that this International Women’s Day will encourage employers to think outside of the box so everyone can be recognised and valued for their worth and given the opportunity to thrive.  Especially in women heavy industries such as the care industry.

It is critical for both companies and individuals to play a role in creating change to enable men and women alike to work in an equal space.  Caring, still often falls as a responsibility to women in many areas in life be that looking after elderly parents or young children.  Unless we create roles that offer flexibility nothing will ever change.  That principle applies to men and women.  Although the care industry is female heavy we actively recruit men to become paid carers as well.  Many elderly gentlemen like to be looked after by a man so my business principle is to offer equal opportunities for all and to recognise talent and create an enabling environment to support our differences and celebrate them.

I love the idea that differences are valued and celebrated.  Five years ago when I set up my company it was based upon the belief that if I looked after my team they in turn would look after our clients.  I’ve stuck to this motto ever since and it has paid off.  Now I have over 100 carers and a large headoffice team who all support each other.  We are a team that values each other’s differences and use it to help others.  For example, when one carer said she wasn’t an accomplished cook another, who was a fabulous chef, started teaching her and we now share recipes and have a nutritionist working with us to advise carers on good recipes and ingredients.  Sharing a perceived weakness has led to a fabulous initiative that helps many.

Caring is arguably the most important job in the world. Every act of kindness makes a difference to someone’s life. Not just theirs but for the caregiver as well.

The International Women’s Day website says:

Imagine a gender-equal world

A world free of bias

A world that is diverse, equitable and inclusive

A world where difference is valued and celebrated

Together we can forge women’s equality

Collectively we can all #BreaktheBias

I would encourage any woman reading this article to stay true to their passion and beliefs and be confident to speak out about their aspirations. Ask for help if it’s needed and be confident to ask for training and recognition. Let’s all come together on this International Women’s Day and commit to caring together, not as a male or female role but as human beings.  Collectively we can all #BreaktheBias