In a climate where there is considerable interest in wider issues relating to women in business and the relevant drivers, I believe that International Women’s Day is a day for us all to reflect on not just women but the growth of our nation as a whole and its relationship to the world. Understanding what is good for women is to understand what is good for business.
Healthy societies equals healthy workforce which is key to good business and astute decisions being made with integrity. Women entrepreneurs are acknowledged to be effective in enhancing the economy generally, and evidence indicates that women-owned businesses have a beneficial community impact.
Unlocking this potential for myself holds a poignant moment of reflection on this year’s International Women’s Day. This year I have been given the opportunity to develop my own potential by beginning my MBA with Cass Business School and its Modular Executive MBA.
In taking this on, I am delighted to have been awarded Cass’s ‘Women in Business’ award. Not only does this help to reduce my fees but allows me to advocate for the role of women in business. All the world’s a stage, and it’s up to us to decide how to use it.
I feel an MBA will help me to find better solutions and business models to bring business, local Government and Charity together to find effective ways of social financing to support corporate social responsibility which is good for business and community.
One issue and one message I wish to impart on International Women’s Day is to highlight the growing driver of maternal mental health. As Executive Director for the organisation Parent Infant Partnership (PIP) UK and as a senior parliamentary researcher my day job is concerned with mental health and in particular the minds of women in the antenatal and postnatal period of pregnancy, birth and parenthood. It is a growing concern to many about how well we are supporting this driver of the wellbeing of parents to be in the workplace and community life.
In the context of mental health shocking statistics show a far reaching impact for women and their families, and indicate why this is truly everyone’s business:
- More than 1 in 10 women develop a mental illness during pregnancy or within the first year after having a baby
- Over a third of domestic violence begins in pregnancy
- Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for women during pregnancy and the year after giving birth
- Taken together, perinatal depression, anxiety and psychosis carry a long-term cost to society of about £8.1 billion for each one-year cohort of births in the UK
Attitudinal change is required to tackle this issue
This is not just about supporting parents to be in our workplaces but reducing the impact upon the next generation who will equally be the future workforce in our business, corporations and stock markets. Mental health in the marketplace matters and perhaps no more for women in particular in the perinatal period.
Earliest relationships matter for future workforce matters and it is why supporting women and their families in the perinatal period is key to tapping into workforce potential. James Heckman, the Nobel Prize winning economist advocates through his research at the University of Chicago which promotes models for growing human potential – that the biggest bang for your buck lies in investing into our earliest relationships.
Leading economists have joined forces to advocate for business investment through social responsibility into community ventures which nurture the earliest years for the future workforce. It is in the interest of each business to get on board and strategically position its social responsibility to reap benefits from human potential and growth in its future dividends.
It is relationships that matter to the marketplace – why not begin by investing into early relationships in which the earliest foundations of our minds are laid which grow potential for a business mind of innovation, ingenuity and productivity.
I believe women are key to sustainable and productive communities – growing their potential grows relationships and community potential. Business must offer further flexibility and see within their profit making margins that the image of healthy relationships equals a healthy society equals good for business. This is how I am going to use my stage.
Modular Executive MBA, 2016 Cass Business School