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As it is International Women’s Day today, colleague blogger Rachael Norton shares her thoughts on challenging the norm.

For those that know me well, I’m a bit of a feminist, the reason I purposely write ‘a bit of’ is that that there are so many misconceptions about feminism.

In my younger working days, I witnessed women believing they had to behave in a certain way to be heard with a style that was aggressive or mirroring that of their male counterparts which is what put me off the word ‘feminism’.

For me, feminism is about a world where equality is the norm and this is something I’m really passionate about.

Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate women’s successes and achievements while raising awareness of gender inequality.

Society tells us there are so many elements of everyday life that impact men and women differently; gender pay gap and equal pay, the glass ceiling of women in senior roles, gender stereotyping into professions and caring responsibilities.

Don’t get me wrong I know of lots of examples where this isn’t the case but sadly it is in the minority.

With it being national careers week last week, there is a focus on inspiring young women into roles that over the years have been attractive to males, engineering and construction, agricultural, senior leadership roles and IT professions. We see in Bromford that we mirror this norm in some teams.

Being the HR business partner with service delivery, I champion for us to be at the forefront of challenging these norms. When I was leaving school, a careers advisor told me my skills would suit becoming a secretary. If you know me, I would be a terrible secretary. Even in the short space of time since I left school, I hope the roles that careers advisors have are now more inspirational.

We all have an unconscious bias and need to challenge our thinking in gender equality. Only when we challenge can we bring about change. So to mark International Women’s Day, we need to tap into our thinking and challenge our own and others gender stereotyping (and be comfortable in doing so), challenge gender assumptions and celebrate the positive success and achievements of women.