We caught up with Sandra Pollock, Founder of The East Midlands Women’s Awards

We caught up with Sandra Pollock, Founder of The East Midlands Women's Awards

The East Midlands Women’s Awards is a prestigious gala ceremony to recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution made by women across Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, and Northamptonshire in areas such as public and professional services, entrepreneurship, Arts, Media and Music, leadership, community impact, charity and volunteering.

Ahead of the Gala Awards, which takes place on 20th October at the Falcon Hotel, Uppingham, dluxe caught up with awards Founder Sandra Pollock to find out more.

How did the idea for the East Midlands Women’s Awards come about?

The idea for the East Midlands Womens Awards (EMWA) came about whilst reflecting on the many women I’ve supported over the years. Many feel unrecognised even though their contribution is outstanding and has made a tremendous difference for the business, communities and the economy at large.

After my tenure as National Chair for the Chartered Management Institute’s WiM Network I felt that there was a need to create something prominent in the East Midlands that recognised, promoted and celebrated the amazing contribution of the work that women in the region have been doing. The response we’ve received for the idea has been tremendous, as has been the support we’ve received both from businesses from women and men across the Region.

Do you think it’s still hard to be taken seriously as a woman in the business field?

Most of us would like to believe that things have changed and it would be true to saythat there have been slight improvements or it may seem that way because we’re talking about it more. Unfortunately, even with the recent hype around the Lord Davies Women on Boards report in 2011, the government’s push to get an increase of women on boards, we still see quite a bit of resistance. UK Figures this year indicate that promotion of women to Board level roles has dropped from 32.1 per cent in 2016 to 29 per cent.

The evidence is clear that women are not taken seriously by the gender pay issues in which women continue to lose out even when clearly doing the same job as men. Women are just as capable and effective as their male counterparts, but this is clearly not being seen or believed.

How important are the awards for the new generations of women?

National labour statics to August 2017 record the weekly hourly contribution of women in the workforce is 27. hours per week and that of men is 36.9 hours. This clearly shows that women are making a considerable contribution in the working environment, just under 10 percent that of men. However, we still live in society where we see or believe that a man’s contribution is more important or better than that of a woman. This is nonsense and we need different ways not just to say that, but of showing it in real terms. We have the evidence all around us.

The East Midlands Women’s Awards are hugely important as a means of identifying, showcasing and recognising the amazing and outstanding contribution of women who are making a huge impact in their chosen fields. This gives the next generation of both men and women powerful examples of what women are doing in real terms and what we can do, to dispel the unrealistic impression about how much women contribute in the society as a whole.

When I was growing up I didn’t see any women from my culture or ethnicity presented in the media that I could hold up as examples that I could emulate. Not that they were not out there, they were not being promoted or celebrated. If there was one thing would have been different for me in terms of my self-belief as a young black woman it would have been role models
outside of my own family. Role models make a huge difference, but role models who live in your city or region are even more powerful because they are within your reach.

We want to recognise and share the excellence of our many female examples and role models to spur on women of all ages and to further change the mind set of those making decisions about employing women in their organisations. There has not been enough change in this area. And more importantly to inspire this new generation of professional and business women. I want my
daughter to be confident and know that her contribution will be seen, appreciated and valued just as that of a man. We want women to feel good about themselves and what they do and receive the recognition they rightly deserve.

To find out more about the awards visit www.emwawards.co.uk