Annabel Gillham is of counsel at MoFo, based in our London office. Her practice focuses on employment counselling, employment advice on transactional matters and investigations, and employment litigation. She works across a variety of sectors including technology, retail, financial services and energy and frequently manages multi-jurisdictional advice for international clients.
What does International Women’s Day mean to you?
International Women’s Day is time for reflection. It is time to take stock of what has been achieved in raising awareness of gender inequality. In the UK, the gender pay gap is now firmly on the board agenda for large employers, as the reporting requirements to publish their gender pay gap come into force later this year.
Today is also a time for action. We need to think about how much there is still to do and how we are going to take concrete action to achieve it. For example, what actions are UK employers going to take to close the pay gap once it is reported?
International Women’s Day is a chance for all — regardless of gender — to celebrate the achievements of women and to wish each other Happy International Women’s Day!
How can women be bold for change in their professional lives?
A lot can be gained simply through supporting each other. I am surrounded by female colleagues who are openly committed to being ambassadors for each other. This can operate on a day to day level, supporting one another at events or discussing how to create impact, and on a more formal level, such as an internal forum for women.
I think it is important to understand that male colleagues are also becoming more and more invested in gender parity in the workplace. So, the ideal goal is to become “gender blind,” not to create female exclusivity. Until then, though, we need to keep on marching.
What woman most inspires you, and why?
Rebecca Musser, author of The Witness Wore Red, is a great example of the immense strength that lies within women. Having escaped from the extremist, polygamist sect in which she had grown up, Rebecca left behind everything she had known and not only survived but used her experiences to help law enforcement expose the criminal activities carried out by the sect. I cannot imagine the bravery that took. Rebecca now campaigns against, and helps victims of, human trafficking.
I grew up hearing stories of my great, great grandmother, who was a feminist author and suffragette. This picture of her on horseback exactly 104 years ago in March 1913, campaigning for women’s votes in Washington D.C., still resonates strongly, and I see it as a picture of hope for today’s March on Washington campaign.