This year, International Women’s Day (#IWD2021) falls on Monday 8th March and what a good way to start the week!
In the early 20th century, Emmeline Pankhurst founder of the suffragette movement, led marches and fought for women to have a voice and be equally heard like their male counterparts. Since then, women have proved that in this ever-changing and challenging world, they are helping to forge a gender equal environment where they are not intimidated by the challenges which they may encounter.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme focuses on “choosing to challenge” and striking this year’s pose, “a raised hand” could encourage everyone to commit to help forge an inclusive world.
Through skill and sheer determination, many women have earned themselves senior positions in a wide range of sectors including the defence and security sector. The FSE Group has supported many female founders to help them scale-up their businesses and reach the next level. We are proud of our success in supporting female led SMEs and across our funds, 24% of our portfolio companies have at least one female director.
Julie Silvester, Head of Commercial at The FSE Group comments: “Defence and Security is a key sector within the UK economy. We consider it highly important in terms of investment and many of our existing portfolio companies work within this sector. So, we are thrilled that more and more women are taking up high level positions within the field. We have a rich history in not only supporting female led SMEs but also having great representation of female leaders in senior positions within our company. Last year we were delighted to sign the Investing in Women Code, a commitment by financial services firms to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. We appreciate that there is more work to be done and strive to build on our successes over the coming years.”
Ann-Marie Warner-Read, Defence Advisor at TriCIS Secure Integrated Solutions added: “As of March 2019, four of the five largest defence Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the US are being led by women. By nature, women tend to be problem solvers. It’s a trait that is important in whatever role a woman plays but can work to our detriment at times as it takes longer to reach the top. Often, I am the only woman in the room and I’m absolutely fine with that. Working in defence should be about bringing authenticity to the table and building credibility. If there are errors or problems, it’s best to acknowledge them and move on. My gender doesn’t matter, what matters is what I do with the opportunities given to me.”
Ren Kapur MBE, Founder & CEO at X-Forces Enterprise and Board Member SME Lead at Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, said:“It is absolutely brilliant to see the phenomenal presence International Women’s Day now has around the world and is testament to all the incredible work local communities are contributing to the greater worldwide platform of #IWD. Wearing both my X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) and Enterprise M3 LEP (EM3) hats, I am thrilled that within our own business communities, we are continuing to champion women empowerment and women in enterprise. I am proud to say that through XFE we have one of the largest cohorts of female entrepreneurs in the armed forces network, with 30% of our start-up businesses being female led. Also, one of my non-exec board role positions at EM3 makes up a rich diversity of representation, including women. There is still much to do as a society, but we are making such great strides and I strongly believe the future is bright for all when diversity is embraced.”
Find out more about the above companies here:
The FSE Group: https://www.thefsegroup.com/
X-Forces Enterprise: https://www.x-forces.com/
Enterprise M3 LEP: https://www.enterprisem3.org.uk/
International Women’s Day: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/