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| 2 minutes read

#IWD2021 Spotlight #8 – Abigail Cornelio

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.

In this Spotlight we talk to Abigail Cornelio, a Partner in our Corporate & Commercial team.


Are there any assumption about women (at work) that you would like to change?

An assumption that needs to change is that women are expected to work like they don’t have children and raise children as if they don’t work. This is not specific to Hassans, but society in general. If a man says he is going home to see the kids, he is praised for being an excellent father, on the other hand if a women says the same, she won’t receive the same praise and will likely be criticised for not prioritising her work.

Women tend to carry around the responsibilities and concerns about their families, the sleepless nights when children are very young and everything else that happens in the privacy of ones home in addition to the pressures and expectation of their workplace. All these pressures weigh heavily on all working mothers wanting to be everything for their families at home and success at work, and sadly they often feel there is no alternative but to take a break from their careers and focus on the family. We need to acknowledge all of this and help working mothers (and other caregiver) stay and succeed in the workplace by allowing them an element of flexibility.

What can workplaces do to help make mothers or other caregivers feel supported and valued?

Workplaces need to establish a system whereby mothers and other caregivers can voice their concerns and difficulties without feeling that they are being judged or prejudiced for doing so.

If you have one piece of advice for a woman asking for that raise, negotiating a promotion, or offering herself up for an important project, what would that be?

Put aside any discomfort you may feel with raising these issues, and focus on highlighting your accomplishments and how you add value to your team, your clients and your company.

What is your vision for 2030 in terms of equality of the genders?

My vision for 2030 is for a society where gender equality prevails and which celebrates diversity and inclusiveness in all workplaces, particularly in prominent roles and senior positions.

What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?

I would tell my 18 year old self to:

  • stop worrying about things beyond my control;
  • be kind to yourself, particularly since the world can often be cruel;
  • stand up for what you believe in;
  • -work hard and stay focussed; and
  • “our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall” (Confucius).

Many thanks to Abigail for taking part.

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