Karen Lynch on #BeBoldForChange this International Women’s Day
Posted by Claire Pearson
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange. What does that mean to you?
“For me, that means stepping out of your comfort zone. Take ownership of your career, lead the way and make change happen. I’d encourage women to give themselves the licence to do things differently. Do the opposite to your competitors and see what happens! I believe every problem has the opportunity for something good to come out of it. If you approach the obstacle with a bold and challenging mind set, you’ve got more chance of making a success out of it.”
How have you supported women at Belu?
“Like all businesses, talent is the number one requirement for success and our ability to attract, support and retain this talent in particular is crucial. Continued empowerment and support of women is essential. Practical action such as encouraging flexible working is key to this. At Belu, 10 out of 12 employees are women. Our COO and myself work 4 days and the rest of the team are empowered to work from home or wherever enables them to be the most productive.”
What women have you seen #BeBoldForChange?
“The social enterprise world is full of inspiring women who have been bold and made a difference in doing so. I’ve seen some women take a strategic approach to stand out while others just charge on and do. Susan Aktemel, Director of Homes for Good CIC is a great example. She’s on a mission to change the way the private renal market in Scotland works for the better, by letting homes to people on low incomes.”
Karen also called out Servane and Cecilia who have been bold and have had a positive social impact because of this.
Servane Mouazan, CEO at Ogunte , has proven that women can solve pressing social & environmental issues and create commercial opportunities at the same time, when given more skills and space to do so. This International Women’s Day, Servane commented, "For a woman in social enterprise, #BeBoldForChange is having the guts to be radical in her own life, when everybody has gone home, and confidently reach out for help if need be".
Cecilia Crossley is the founder of From Babies With Love, an ethically sourced baby clothes and toy brand that donates 100% of its profits to orphaned and abandoned children worldwide. Being bold has been key to this social enterprises success. Cecilia says "Be Bold for Change means not accepting the status quo and having a "don’t ask don’t get" attitude. I remember when we first designed our Parental Leave Gift Service for large corporates, and we went straight to a large company to be our very first client - I worked for a long time on building relationships and getting the opportunity to meet the right people, but didn’t take no for an answer, won the client and now this service is a fast growing part of our social enterprise."
International Women’s Day is also about recognising that gender equality progress has slowed in many places across the world. In your opinion Karen, what work still needs to be done?
“The work Belu do to support WaterAid is crucial because for women and girls to live healthier, safer, more productive lives, they must have safe water, sanitation and hygiene.
Lack of safe water, proper toilets and good hygiene affects women and girls most. This is often because women and girls are typically responsible for collecting water for the family. This can leave little – if any – time to go to school. For young women and girls, the effects of not having a safe toilet close by can be devastating, forcing them to drop out of school when they start to menstruate because they lack privacy and the means to stay clean and healthy.”
Any final words?
“I’d encourage both women and men to #BeBoldForChange. And to take action not only today, but every day.”