The driving force behind the creation of Certsure LLP, Emma Clancy has been part of the NICEIC for 13 years and has created a Jobs For the Girls campaign. Here, Emma answers our ‘what it means to be a woman in 2018’ Q&A, to mark 100 years of suffrage; the Representation of the People Act 1918 was passed on 6 February 1918.
Emma Clancy Q&A
It’s been 100 years since (some) women were granted the right to vote in the UK – how far do you think women have come in the last century?
In the past century, women have come such a long way. We should appreciate the fact that we have access to so many opportunities that were not available to us 100 years ago. However, the unfortunate reality is that, despite great progress being made in breaking down gender barriers in other areas of life, there is still a huge job to do when it comes to tackling the issue in the traditionally male-oriented trade world. These sectors have been much slower to adapt and women are still severely under –represented in the construction sector. In the electrical sector alone women still represent less than one in every one thousand electricians. Although the situation is improving the pace of change must accelerate.
What does it mean to be a woman in 2018?
This year is proving to be an important year for women, but I can’t help but feel a little confused. In one way, women have wider choice and we are told that we have the strength and abilities to achieve anything we want. Whilst on the other hand, women still shoulder the majority of caring responsibilities in the home and astonishingly, still earn less in the workplace compared to our male counterparts. The gathering of momentum for things such as the #MeToo movement is encouraging, and I believe will lead to real sustained and actual change. We need to celebrate our success but also be honest that there is a journey ahead.
What do women still need to achieve?
Women need to give themselves the gift of confidence and start believing that our achievements are as impressive as anyone else’s. Women should use the term “I” more than “we” when talking about contributions to work and society, in order to feel more confident. But also, women should feel more confident making compromises, as we can’t do everything and that is absolutely ok. Personally, I still think we need to change the perception of the electrical industry as one traditionally for boys. We need to make it more inclusive and appealing to women. Young females need see it as a viable, exciting career option from the very beginning. “There are some great success stories out there of women who have made a great career in the electrical industry. They are real trailblazers and we should shout about their success. That has certainly been something we wanted to achieve when we first started the ‘Jobs for the Girls’ campaign five years ago.
Your personal proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is being the CEO of a Times Top 100 company to work for, for six years running. The electrical sector can, at times, struggle with diversity, therefore I am proud that Certsure is leading the way and can benchmark itself with pride against organisations in different and more diverse sectors.
If you could teach young women one thing about being it woman it would be…
… that it is absolutely ok to not be perfect. Just be yourself and take some time to figure out who you are and you’ll soon realise that you can achieve great things.
And if you could teach young men one thing…
… it would be to share everything, as there is no such thing as ‘girl and boy jobs’. There are just jobs that need the ideal candidates to do the work successfully, irrespective of gender.
Complete the following:
In the next 100 years, I hope women will…
…speak up more. Speaking up if you feel that something is not quite right is so important for change. This small act of support can make more difference than you think. Silence means that an act will be repeated and behaviour endorsed. I would also like to see more women supporting each other, standing together for the common goal to break down barriers against equality, just as the determined suffragettes did 100 years ago. I feel it is a personal responsibility of mine and other female leaders to encourage more women to see beyond perceived limitations and unlock their ambition. And if they want to join us in the electrical sector, I would be delighted.
Jobs for Girls campaign encourages girls to join the building services sector and redress the male and female workplace balance. It was found that one in every thousand electrical contractors is female and NICEIC aim to change that statistic by setting up a female training academy, sponsoring female students, meeting with politicians and much more. They are also the first organisation to ever run a trade advert which features a female contractor.