International Women’s day


My awareness that girls and women were excluded from certain activities or industries happened at a young age. At junior school, in the 1980s my friend and I became acutely aware that as girls, we didn’t seem to have the same opportunities as the boys in our class. In one particularly audacious move, we noticed a ‘male chauvinist pig’ greetings card in a shop and gave it to our year 6 teacher after he had informed us that we weren’t allowed to play football at school “because we were girls”.

I have no idea what our teacher made of that card. I’m presuming he was somewhat offended, but I also hope that he saw the desire in these two young girls to fight for inclusion and call out the injustice they felt.

Growing up, I often imagined myself as a mum of a daughter whom I would encourage to seek out inclusion for herself and other girls in her situation and take action when she felt she was being discriminated against because of her gender.

Purple square with circular image of people raising hands in support for International Women's Day on 8 March 2024. With the words "Lets forge a more inclusive world for women. Collectively we can #InspireInclusion"Today, I am the proud mother of two sons, aged 10 and 12. I have to admit that for a short time I mourned the idea of inspiring a daughter to know her worth, fight for inclusion and work with other girls and women to lift each other to greater heights.

But two things quickly dawned on me. Firstly, I have opportunities every day to support girls and women both at work and in my personal life. We all do. And when I say “we all do”, I mean everyone. Because the second thing I realised was that one of the most important things I can do in my role as a mother to support inclusion and embrace diversity, is to educate my sons through my words and my actions. Talking to them about inequality, history and the progress we have made; making it clear what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable; encouraging them to call out discrimination when they witness it; and supporting them in building relationships based on respect, support and kindness – embracing other people’s diversity in full.

So, I would like to continue to #InspireInclusion in 2024 and beyond by using my role as a Joint Managing Director and as a Mother of two sons. And you’ll be pleased to hear that I did eventually take up football 5 years ago. I wonder what I could have achieved had I had the opportunity to begin my football journey aged 10? [Sidenote: probably not a lot based on my skill-level after 5 years of training, but it would have been nice to have had the chance!]

Katherine Lee, Joint Managing Director