Taylor Root is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2019. International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Whilst we all know that gender parity within the workplace has improved over the past decades, we all also know that there is still a long way to go.
We would like to join the discussion and be part of International Women's Day 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign on the 8th March by interviewing inspiring women we work with and, in particular, understanding the role confidence has played in their career.
We interviewed Sarah Ingwersen, Partner and Head of In-House at Taylor Root.
How do you define confidence, particularly in the workplace?
Confidence is about having self-belief in your abilities, finding your voice and backing yourself to use it. It’s about not comparing yourself to others and how they express themselves, but being authentic with how your present yourself.
How do you think the confidence gap affects women?
I think it has a massive impact. I regularly see women not push themselves forward in the workplace, compared with their male counterparts. One example of where this is prevalent is during the recruitment process when more often than not, female lawyers we are working with are reluctant to negotiate their offer, whereas (generally speaking), male candidates regularly do negotiate. I think this perpetuates the gender pay gap as companies don’t necessarily deliberately differentiate salaries between male and females, but when men are regularly pushing for a salary increase or a higher offer, it instantly widens the gap, which is then carried on throughout their respective careers.
How important is mentoring, coaching and sponsorship in helping women to grow their confidence at work?
All three are invaluable for women at all levels of their career. I’ve had mentors all through my working life and continue to have them. My main mentor is a client who I haven’t ever actually asked to be my mentor but the relationship has just developed that way (and she now knows she’s my mentor!). I think it sometimes works well (particularly with external mentors) where the relationship just evolves. Equally mentors within an organisation are invaluable as they will understand the content and dynamics of relationships, the specifics of the role and the political landscape there. I mentor a number of colleagues and have an internal mentor as well - I don’t think you ever stop needing input and support from above and in turn it’s our responsibility to support those coming through the ranks.