Spotlight #6 – Raquel Moss
From challenge comes change.
As part of our ongoing International Women’s Day campaign, we are publishing a series of spotlight videos and interviews which explore the candid views and experiences of members of our team, looking at the factors they feel contribute to gender bias, and to urge all women, and men, to challenge inequality, call out bias, question stereotypes, and help forge an inclusive world.
- The gender equality movement of the 1980s focused on encouraging women to become more confident and assertive but many reinforced a notion that women needed to "act like men" if they were to succeed (all while still being a superwoman in the home). Are there any traits and characteristics which are stereotypically considered “female” which might be beneficial in a workplace?
I like to think about human behaviours, and not focus on gendered points of view which have been unconsciously picked up from infancy and normalised. Men and women can find themselves trapped in the same guinea pig wheel of having to act in set ways. “Real men don’t cry” for instance. “Women are over emotional”. We can go beyond that.
I very much believe in a collaborative style of management, where people feel ownership of the work they do and the freedom to speak up as to what can be changed, in an atmosphere of continuous improvement.
Do we need to think of collaboration as being a female trait? How about we just call it efficient and intelligent?
- Do you think successful women face any backlash?
It’s a nasty trait to be envious of success and to seek to undermine it. It’s particularly vile to do so when an individual has had to work especially hard to overcome obstacles, obvious or invisible, to get to a place where they are recognised for their achievements, and can reap the benefits. Does this still happen more often to women than to men? I’m afraid I do think so. To quote a meme I was sent on Monday: “Humanity has always been afraid of women who fly, whether it is because they are witches or because they are free”.
- What are some examples of concrete actions that men can take to support women’s rights?
Call out sexism and all other nasty isms when they see it happening around them, regardless of whether they are in a position of power or not. Think about the individual as a person, and not as a representative of their gender. Act accordingly.
- What is your vision for 2030 in terms of equality of the genders?
I so wish that by 2030 we had all stopped talking about women having specific workplace needs in order to raise their families, as if men didn’t have the same responsibility and, therefore an equal consequent need to juggle different aspects of their lives. Raising the next generation is a societal need.
For too long we women have faced discrimination by prospective employers, being asked questions at recruitment interview stage which are thankfully no longer lawful, but which still lurk in the minds of some. I clearly remember being asked, as a recent graduate aged 22: “Do you want to have children?”, as well as one which still baffles me: “What does your husband do?” What does that have to do with my ability to take up the position I’ve applied for? …. (Perhaps I should point out here that I entered the workplace in the mid 90s, and I have had both prospective and actual employers before joining Hassans!)
Do we dare hope that one of the lessons we have learned from the whole Covid nightmare we have lived through is that we can think outside the 9-5? That at least in some professions we can work flexibly, from home, from the office, at different times of the day, allowing the accommodation of different demands on our time: be it caring for children, for aged parents, or for our own learning and development. Employers would do well to think of each member of staff as a unique individual, with lots to give if treated fairly.
- What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?
Don’t be put off when you find yourself being the only woman in a boardroom! And speak up – literally – don’t let male voices drown yours out.