8 March, 2017

M&S and #IWD2017 – #BeBoldforChange

As women represent 72% of our employees and 62% of our customers, they are pretty important to our business success! Not only that, but extensive research shows that diversity, in all its forms, leads to better business performance. International Women’s Day is an important day in the year for us – we are really proud of how far we have come in terms of gender balance at senior levels, but we still have work to do.

Solving the gender gap is a complex and challenging puzzle, but one piece of the puzzle involves women backing themselves more and doubting themselves less. On International Women’s Day we’ll be kicking off a series of professional development seminars, all designed around topics that research shows are helpful for women to progress, and the first of these is all about Beliefs and Confidence, delivered by our partner Talking Talent. Over the next few months, we’ll be running professional development seminars about strategic networking, personal brand, career planning and coaching.

We also know that men are really important in helping us achieve a more gender balanced business, and that’s why for International Women’s Day our women’s network is re-naming itself to GEN (Gender Equality Network). During the week we’ll be profiling our GEN Heroes – people around M&S who are championing gender equality. Not only that but we’re launching an internal mentoring programme for women – this is so that women, at all levels, can access mentors around M&S to help them progress in their careers.

We’re excited about the future of our Gender Equality Network and with the sponsorship of our chairman, we know we’ve got lots to look forward to.

The official theme for International Women’s Day 2017 is #BeBoldForChange, that’s why we’re hosting a series of professional development seminars focused on helping women progress in their careers, but open and designed to useful for everyone at M&S.

The seminars will kick off on March 8 with a talk from the Inspiring Speaker Series titled ‘Beliefs and Confidence’, delivered by Rob Bravo from Talking Talent in Waterside Restaurant.

Following this, the seminar schedule is:

  • Personal Brand – Talking Talent 
  • Strategic Networking – Talking Talent 
  • Career Planning – Debbie Emery, M&S
  • Coaching/Mentoring – Sofia Mendes, M&S 

These are just some of the exciting highlights we can expect this year. At M&S we believe that by being brave and driving change, we can create a fair work environment where everyone can be their best and both women and men can fulfill their career ambitions. That’s why we’re inviting you to join us and #BeBoldforChange.

Inside M&S