Why Gender Smart? My story

Waste of talent

When I came to the UK from The Netherlands 12 years ago I was shocked meeting so many well-educated mothers that had opted out of a paid career; such a waste of talent. Meanwhile my female friends in The Netherlands were all back into work 3 months after giving birth. How could that be?

I personally was desperate to return to work, found a job and and experienced first-hand what it is like to be a working parent in the UK, part time and full time. After 4 years of combining working and parenting I shocked myself by opting out too.

I didn’t give up work fully though. I started for myself, showing women it can be done, that you can be a parent and have a career, and I founded the web hub Mum & Career.

Key to Women’s Career Success

While working with women I found that the key is not just with women, but also with organisations. Expecting women to be successful in organisations designed by men, for men, and dominated by men, simply isn’t working. It’s like asking a fish to climb a tree. Why do we expect women to adapt and be like men?

Women leave, not just because they can’t fit work around child caring responsibilities. I learned that women disengage, plateau in their career or leave organisations because they feel undervalued and excluded. They look ahead and see a male-dominated environment that they don’t want to be part of, and they see a lack of opportunities for someone like them. Meanwhile, for many, home is pulling, and the choice seems easy.

This now seems to me the key to womens’ career success, and that’s where I want to help.

Inclusive Organisations are Gender Smart Organisations

I would love to help you and your organisation become a place that works for men and women. Where women can contribute from their strengths, and are valued because they do, and where they feel enabled and motivated to move up into decision-making roles. In short a Gender Smart organisation.

I don’t have all the answers, but I bring a wealth of experience in change management and deep expertise on gender difference and shaping inclusive organisations. I can use this to guide and support you in the process of becoming more inclusive for women, in short: Gender Smart. I would love to help you explore what is possible in your organisation and find or build small ponds where female talent can swim already, to connect those ponds and help you create streams, rivers and lakes, and finally oceans. I believe passionately that this will retain women and leverage a female way of working to create top performance.