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TGt Meets...Charlotte Fagergard, Director of See No Bounds - IWD Special
On March 8 it will be the annual day to celebrate women across all walks of life and all over the world. This year's day has the theme #choosetochallenge. We've invited women from across the UK - including Swindon - to take part and share their views. Some have also been kind enough to donate to some fundraising in honour of IWD 2021 we've done in several of our areas including Swindon and Dorset. Many thanks to those who have spared a few pennies to support a local charity at this challenging time.
By Charlott Fagergard, director of See No Bounds. We are an Online Community Centre with an extensive Business Directory. Our office is based in South Wales, but the directory is Nationwide and some clients global.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #choosetochallenge – what would you choose to challenge?
I would challenge all business owners to look around and see what small changes can be made to make a huge difference. We have recently launched a new podcast called TalkPAD and stands for talking positively about dyslexia and this is just one sample of how businesses can get together and make awareness of how we as a society can make small changes such as a dyslexic friendly font and colour, menus at restaurants in large print and the list can go on to make a common inequality less significant.
Thinking of your own experience in the world of business – which inequalities, if any, have you experienced personally or witnessed around gender?
When I was first working in the hospitality sector one of my responsibilities as a general manager was to be in control of wine buying and the role of a sommelier.
Twenty years ago there were fewer women in this role and the gender inequality was massive. Wine merchants would often ignore you and go straight to the owner. I was lucky as I worked with some amazing companies and it has also changed with time.
Have you during your career ever challenged a situation where you felt a woman (even it’s yourself) has been disadvantaged by gender?
Actually, the opposite. I was first running a wine bar when I was 19 years old and during an important football match in Chelsea, London most drinking establishments had closed for the afternoon due to problems being foreseen. We were open and the masses coming through the door was insane.
However, by me being a woman I felt more in control that day than if my male colleague would have been in charge as they were respectful enough to not start a fight with a woman.
What do you think women offer in particular to the world of business?
Women can be very good at multitasking which can be both a positive and a negative but sometimes thinking five steps ahead is useful.
What do you think men offer in particular to the world of business?
Men can in some circumstances be more direct and skip the fluffy talk which is again sometimes a positive but not always.
Is gender important when it comes to success in business?
I think the only time that this can become important is when it comes to physical strength.
Can you name up to three women in business or in your organisation or in the wider business community that you admire?
I am a massive fan of Fiona Scott and Scott Media due to her straight-talking no-nonsense attitude.
We love working with Natasha Baker from Kidslingo as she is full of energy and her everything is possible attitude.
We are lucky to have so many great companies and women business owners in our community that choosing three is almost impossible, but I will also give a massive shout out to Carole Arvanatis from Newlann Mystery Shopping who has been not only a huge support but also great to elaborate ideas with.
Can you name up to three men in business or in your organisation or in the wider business community that you admire?
It is hard for us to single out three within the community but we work closely with Jon Haines from PobDesign, our web developer who is amazing and great at explaining technology in a non-techie way!
We also see Matthew Preece from Business Doctors Newport as part of the team and I could not run the business without my partner in crime Jamie McAnsh.
Do you think women who start their own business experience more challenges than men?
I think this happens if you do not believe in yourself. Sometimes we as women can for example say that we are not technical and almost create a problem before it is there.
If you are starting your business and believing in yourself your mindset will change and I think a lot of things that you thought as a challenge will no longer exist.
What do you think about the gender pay gap?
As we have entered the 21st Century this should be a thing of the past and something I think we need to really challenge. There should be equal pay for equal responsibility. I believe that this dates back to where women were stay at home mums and it needs to be changed.
What do you think about the International Women’s Day movement?
I think all days should be celebrated and this gives us a chance to talk about subjects that are close to our heart and hopefully make a change.
International Women’s Day is a day that I think we should be proud of and as this year's theme is #Choosetochallenge I think that is what we should do!
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