International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global celebration, taking place each year on the 8th of March.
It’s a day to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women as well as a movement that actively fights for gender equality (through marches, events, fundraising and more). For many, it’s a chance to reflect on how far women have come since the very first Women’s Day took place in 1909.
To celebrate, we interviewed several amazing women to find out what IWD means to them, how women can succeed in the workplace and where they turn to for inspiration.
As part of this series, we interviewed Kirsten White. She’s the founder of London Grace, an award-winning nail bar that combines cruelty-free beauty treatments with coffee and cocktails.
What’s not to love?
She was recently named as High Street Entrepreneur of the Year at the Natwest Great British Entrepreneur Awards, and her work’s been celebrated in myriad magazines and newspapers, including the Stylist, London Evening Standard, Country & Townhouse and LOOK.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
A chance to celebrate all those amazing women out there who are working hard, achieving remarkable things but not necessarily always recognised.
What women’s issues need greater awareness in your opinion?
Maternity pay. The companies that invest in women, and offer them progression, are the same companies that get hit with financially covering the maternity pay, holiday accrued, pension contribution and maternity cover. It’s not really incentivising companies (especially the bigger corporate brands) into hiring and developing women.
What do you think is the most significant barrier to women entering leadership positions?
Confidence. I’ve met so many women who are capable of being great leaders but doubt themselves too much to put themselves forward.
What advice would you give to young women who want to succeed in the workplace?
Work diligently and support those around you. In turn, they will support you.
How do you support women in your everyday life?
Our industry isn’t known for having clear career paths so I’ve tried to create this at London Grace – one of my aims in starting the business was to give women the opportunity to progress and develop. 70% of our Management and Office team were promoted from within, and I’m so proud of them.
What companies or business models do you admire?
I just read about House of CB’s founder, Conna Walker, and it’s a pretty inspiring story. She founded the company when she was 17 selling clothes on eBay. With no formal fashion training, she’s found a gap in the market – her clothes are now sold around the world and the brand is loved by celebrities such as Beyonce, Rihanna and the Kardashians.
What woman inspires you the most?
I became a Mum this year and I have a new found respect for any working Mum, especially if they run a business! I particularly admire Chrissy Rucker (The White Company Founder) who has grown her brand alongside raising four children.