Women’s network group ‘one of fastest-growing in world’
THE Jersey arm of a global women’s network is one of the fastest-growing of the thousands of groups, according to an organiser.
Pippa Davidson (34) said that she set up the local group after she was inspired by Sheryl Sandburg, who wrote the book Lean In and subsequently founded the global group which shares its name.
Lean In is a non-profit organisation which was founded in 2013 by Mrs Sandburg, chief operating officer of Facebook, whose aim was to create a group which offered professional and educational support, as well as networking opportunities, to its members.
Now there are around 44,000 local groups – or ‘circles’ – in more than 170 countries.
Mrs Davidson explained that she started the circle in Jersey expecting ‘a few friends and acquaintances’ to attend the first meeting and was happily surprised when 80 women showed up.
‘I launched the group just two years ago and now we have grown to having 355 members, which has made Jersey’s circle one of the fastest-growing in the world,’ said Mrs Davidson.
Along with offering monthly lunch-and-learn sessions, the group organises speakers to visit the Island once a quarter.
They give talks on issues ranging from pay rise negotiation to maternity welfare issues.
Mrs Davidson said that while around 60% of their members worked in finance, remaining members were in various industries, including the Government of Jersey, teaching and the care sector.
‘Much of our work focuses on educating companies on how to combat gender bias and supporting them in implementing gender bias training, as well as raising awareness on the gender pay gap,’ she added.
She said that the group previously asked 200 of their members whether they believed they had ever experienced gender bias in work, and 35% said they had. When the same group were asked whether they believed there was a gender pay gap in Jersey, 81% said that they did.
‘A lot of women come to us with issues ranging from experiencing men being promoted over them or men with less experience jumping them in salary.
‘Others find that if they take a career break to either raise their children or care for an elderly relative, they find themselves being overlooked in work when they return – things like not being invited for training, as it’s assumed that they aren’t as bothered or ambitious.’
The former Beaulieu student and mother-of-one, who now lives in Trinity and works in a senior position in the finance industry, said that the group was free to join, thanks to their sponsor, Smith and Williamson.
Paul Coleshill, director of Smith and Williamson, is also part of Jersey’s Lean In men’s circle.
For more information on the Jersey Lean In circle, visit Leanin.org.
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