The Tees Businesswomen Awards are instrumental in raising the profile of the region’s female business leaders, says Jane Armitage.
In discussion with Tees Business executive editor Dave Allan on the PD Ports-sponsored Tees Business Leaders Live Q&A, the managing partner at Stockton-based Jacksons Law firm admitted that the fight for equality in the workplace is still ongoing.
“Jacksons are a firm who feel very strongly about women in business, and though we have taken massive steps forward, it’s still a course we continue on,” she revealed.
“In the past we arranged a series of boardroom lunches for business leaders and needed to make sure that around the table we had a mixture of men and women, not because we were doing alternative placings, but because it’s something we felt was important.
“These days we don’t need to think, we just invite the right people and the balance happens naturally. That might be because women have worked harder at growing their networks or raising their profiles.
“However, I still don’t think we have reached the point where women and men are truly equal in the workplace.
“In my profession, for example, we see that over 50 per cent of new lawyers are women, but it’s only in very recent years that we are seeing many of them in partnerships and in managing partner roles. That’s taken quite a long time to come through.”
Jane was focused on the issue with entries and nominations now open for the third annual Tees Businesswomen Awards, which will take place virtually due to Covid on the evening of January 14, 2021.
Jane believes that many women are perhaps reluctant to shout about their achievements, which is why the Tees Businesswomen Awards are crucial as a way of acknowledging and validating the amazing achievements of our region’s female businesswomen.
“I may be generalising, but I don’t think that women are as good as men when it comes to selling themselves,” says Jane.
“There’s a slight reluctance to take centre stage and I think that in promoting women being able to have a great career path to the next generation, the Businesswomen Awards are the perfect vehicle for that.”
Jane, whose firm is the current Tees Businesswomen Company of the Year, was joined in discussion by two leading figures in the local business community – Chloe Clover, creative director of Wander Films, and Sharon Lane, managing director of Tees Components and the reigning Tees Businesswoman of the year.
“The awards highlight the fact that you can have a job like Chloe or Sharon have and that you can progress all the way up the career ladder. You’re not necessarily going to have to stop at a certain level just because you’re a woman,” says Jane.
While the fight for equal representation of all minority groups continues, Jane is firmly behind the awards, though she hopes that in the future they may not be as essential.
“One day perhaps we won’t need the Tees Businesswomen Awards,” she admits.
“One day we won’t even look at the figures in the Tees Business 30 Most Inspirational Business Leaders on Teesside. If it’s 25 women one year and six the next it won’t matter, but at the moment there’s obviously been a disconnect somewhere between women and women’s profiles and the jobs they have been doing.
“The awards are a way of highlighting that and I hope they continue to go from strength to strength.”
For further information on sponsoring one of the three remaining categories in the Businesswomen Awards 2020 call Chris Garbutt on 01642 450255 or email email@example.com.