This Sunday (8 March) was International Women’s Day. As an employer, we at Lewisham Homes are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion. We spoke to Margaret Dodwell, chief executive and mum to three grown-up children, about gender equality in the workplace and what International Women’s Day means to her.
What has helped you get to where you are today?
By being willing to grab opportunities as they arose, having been inspired by some great leaders and managers and having a very supportive husband. I also have a real belief in the work we do. By providing good quality homes and services we can make a big difference to people’s lives and that is a very good reason to always strive to be the best I can be.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
It’s a day to showcase and celebrate women’s achievements. It started over 100 years ago and I am sure has inspired many young girls to be the best they can be.
Why is gender equality important?
All equality is important; it’s not just gender. Staying focused on gender, and being a lover of history, I recall how many women, starting with the suffragettes, have campaigned for equality and access to opportunities. Even 50 years ago some of the opportunities I have enjoyed would not have been possible. A personal example is my mum’s story: she was a midwifery sister when she got married in 1966 and because of that had to step down from that position to a less senior role.
What advice would you give to someone who is looking to progress?
Be true to yourself, stay open minded and embrace opportunities. The best learning I have had in my career has generally come from the mistakes I have made and how I dealt with them.