Hands make a heart

Double‘s View – International Women’s Day 2020

Polly Grinnell & Laura Templeton-Cox

In celebration, and recognition of, International Women’s Day 2020, our company directors, Laura Templeton-Cox and Polly Grinnell, discuss their views on gender balance in Double, and business as a whole.

Women in Double – Laura Templeton- Cox

Last year we celebrated Double’s 10 year anniversary, and just this week we went out as a team in honour of two of our employees being employed by Double for 10 years. This prompted us to reminisce about times gone by and how far both we as a business and as individuals have come over that time. Lots has changed; people have come and gone, we’ve added amazing new clients and suppliers, formed a fantastic culture where everyone can be involved with the workings of Double and founded a business purpose that means so much to each and every one of us at Double.

But it was the memories of one of the longest serving members of our team that caused us to stop and think. Rachael, our Finance Assistant, was recalling the very male dominated environment that she entered into at Double 10 years ago. Led by male Directors and being the only female in the office, Rachael was very definitely outnumbered.  I personally remember the sheer joy from Rachael when I started at Double, a year after her, at having another female to keep her company!

Since that time, the tables have turned and not only have we employed women across the business but both Polly and I have both become Directors meaning that we are now completely equal across the business between male and female.

This is a change that I feel has made us more rounded as a team, bringing in different perspectives whether that be in our designs, our processes or our culture. We have all helped to educate each other, to grow as individuals and to shape Double to what it is today.

Know women, know why – Polly Grinnell

I have never felt like a woman.

I mean, I am female and have experienced pregnancy and childbirth, I am in a heterosexual relationship and wear women’s clothes and make up, but when I look back over my life so far, I feel incredibly lucky as I have been surrounded by people who consider me to be a person. One with my own strengths and weaknesses, talents and flaws, but who should be treated fairly and respectfully.

“if there is one thing we can all do, it is to try and change the conversations we are having.”

I have never felt any pressure to adhere to female stereotypes or that any opportunity were out of reach due to my gender. I went to a mixed sex school, built male and female relationships, played male and female sports and although I entered into a noticeably male-dominated world of business, I have never felt anything but welcome.

As a female Director and owner of a successful creative business, I was amazed to learn recently that despite 63% of design students being women, women only hold 17% of creative leadership roles across the industry. This along with 94% of board members of FTSE 250 businesses being male, these are surprising statistics in today’s seemingly equal opportunities world.

We are more and more aware of the gender pay gap and women being mistreated in society, but what is it that creates such misalignment between what we hear about our future and what we do here and now?

Personally, I believe that women are busy trying to do what we do best, juggling our natural talents and chosen career paths with the roles we play in wider society as partners, mothers, sisters and daughters. I believe that women understand the term “to compromise” better than anyone. And that’s not to say it’s right to do so, but so often we see women, highly intellectual women, who have so much creative insight to give, having to compromise their position and success in a business to fulfil other roles.

The reason for these compromises may be different for all of us, we all have our own stresses and strains in life, but if there is one thing we can all do, it is to try and change the conversations we are having. I don’t believe we need to talk about men and women, male and female, what we do and don’t have and what we can and can’t do. Instead I believe we should be developing ways to better understand each other, to build better relationships and create better ways of working to accommodate all of our needs. There are, of course, biological differences between us, but these should only ever be seen as strengths and if we work together, what we can do is nothing short of miraculous.

Madeleine Albright says there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other but I believe this to be true for all of humanity. It may just be up to us women to show everyone how it’s done.

Can I have some more?

The importance of understanding yourself and your team.

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