For International Women's day, we wanted to shine a light on some of the amazing women who work for Johnsons Workwear and find out a little more about them.
Meet Head of Major Accounts Stephanie Jordan, who has worked at Johnsons for 19 years:
Talk us through an average day in your life:
I get up early most days and attend two or three meetings a day if I am office based. I catch up with the team regularly and also spend time with our customers. I get involved in a lot of projects and strategy planning.
I enjoy being out and about and end up staying away from home at least once a week, which I don’t mind. I know most restaurant menus off by heart now and enjoy listening to audio books whilst dining alone! I also try to fit in going to the gym when I can.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a journalist for a newspaper. I love well written articles and not the clickbait that we see so much of on the internet now. I also did at one time fancy the idea of being a lawyer!
What is it like being a woman in your job/department?
I am not sure how it would differ if I were a man if I am honest – but I can say overall, I really do enjoy it. I love helping and seeing my team achieve their goals. I hope that I have a positive impact on the company and our customers– always pushing and striving for us to do better.
I have some great women in my team – and they, alongside the male half, work together well and support each other.
The same with my peers; a mix of male and female colleagues. I have great relationships with all of them, full of respect and humour, just how it should be.
What do you think are some of the biggest challenges facing young girls and women today?
There is and always has been a pressure on women to conform to the norm – be that in the way they look or the way they behave. These are now more obvious and harmful than ever with unrealistic imagery plastered all over the media.
I believe to a certain extent that women are complicit in this and we need to be less critical of both ourselves and each other. Cease buying from the brands that do this and it will soon stop.
An opinionated woman can often be described as “difficult” whereas a man would be classed as “forthright”. A woman might be called “stubborn” but a man may “strong willed”. We just need to be true to ourselves and pursue our goals despite any surrounding negativity.
There can be a tendency to try to over compensate for our femininity – by either toning down or ramping up personality traits. I have really found throughout the years you can only keep this up for a certain amount of time – and by far the best way is to be yourself as much as possible. A quote from Dame Kelly Holmes is one I have always loved – "Run your own Race".
However, I would also say that I have never felt held back by my gender. Any restrictions I feel have been imposed by myself and not society or the business world.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would have told myself that I could be that lawyer or the journalist or anything I wanted to be for that matter. Work hard, push yourself, support others – being “nice” is not a weakness.
I come from a background of council housing and free school dinners, second hand uniform, benefits – something which to this day I am not ashamed of – however I do also have a sense of imposter syndrome when I realise what I have managed to achieve.
What changes would you like to see in the future for women?
I would like to see every girl/woman have the right to an education. To be able to work in any profession, be a stay at home mum, drive, marry, divorce , stay single – whatever future they decide for themselves without persecution and judgement by society.
I am so lucky to have had all the above, but so many around the world do not and it is unacceptable.
I think there needs to be healthcare equality too. If men had periods, pregnancy, menopause etc. then the funding that would be available to improve pain relief or symptoms would be much greater – essential sanitary items would be free or at least at cost.
Contraception is still largely a female’s responsibility. I guarantee if men were the ones carrying the babies then there would be an effective male contraceptive pill by now!
Who is your biggest female inspiration in life?
By a mile, my mum. She had four children full time, two jobs at times – how she managed to look after all of us (and my dc ad) I will never know!
She continues to support us and our children in every way possible. With endless unconditional love, she is so very proud of us all four and her many grandchildren.
She is not a business woman, not a famous politician or an activist, but she gave us all the template as to what being a good person and parent is and she still inspires me today.
What makes you proud to be a woman?