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‘Women are just as capable of being business leaders as their male counterparts’

Elaine McLaine-Wood, managing partner at Punch Robson Solicitors, explains why the Tees law firm is backing the first-ever Tees Businesswomen Awards being held in November…

One of the reasons Punch Robson sponsored the SME category in the Tees Businesswomen Awards is because the firm is an established Teesside law firm where we provide legal and business advice to commercial clients.

We want to champion the female talent within Teesside being the clients that we serve since historically it has been very male dominated.

Some of the difficulties you have with females wanting to progress their career is that should the females choose to have children they will no doubt have some form of break whether this is for a few weeks, months or a year.

Sometimes females may wish to return to work part-time. This therefore allows their male counterparts to accelerate up the career path to the detriment of females who were more than capable.

Some male employees may frown upon promoting females for this reason alone which is unfortunate. This also creates succession issues, however there are many leading ladies who have proven that it is possible to succeed in business, by running your own business or being promoted to a position as a director or partner.

As a mother of two I have fought against this stigma, however, to have a career and raise children sacrifices are made. Mums cannot have it both ways. I have sacrificed time with my children to allow my career to progress and that is something that I will never get back.

Females I consider are maybe a bit more humble and busy doing their day-jobs that they do not necessarily shout out as loud as they perhaps should. This is evident within local business publications and I would hope that the awards overcome this.

I was appointed managing partner of Punch Robson at the age of 40 and I’ve been president of the local law society, something which has been male-dominated historically and am very proud of this.

I previously worked for Dickinson Dees in Newcastle before relocating to Teesside in 2005. Newcastle was very cosmopolitan and although the majority of the business community was male orientated there were many females coming through.

My own personal view, when I came to Teesside, is that there was an older boys’ network in this area. I therefore considered that this was more generational, but it is evident that it still occurs with younger generations.

It’s important that women infiltrate this culture. I make it my job of getting involved and I’m not afraid to rattle a few cages, to open more doors.

Women are just as capable of being business leaders as their male counterparts.

It is a known fact that women are good at multi-tasking (I accept some men are also), but females can also give a different direction at board level.

We’re all different, but we’re equal. I have two male business equity partners where we each bring something different to the table.

It is pleasing to see that I am one of three female managing partners of a Tees-based law firm, although law firms are generally male-dominated at partner level, but as a firm we want to celebrate the success of women in our area.

Across the Tees region we have a number of female clients who run their own businesses, so we feel it’s important they get the recognition they deserve.

There are other female business awards in other areas, and I think it’s important that we applaud our own, so we’re absolutely delighted and extremely proud to get involved with the first-ever Tees Businesswomen Awards.

Click here to find out more about the award categories, the criteria and how to enter.

Elaine McLaine-Wood
Managing partner
Punch Robson Solicitors

 

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