• To coincide with International Women’s Day, in this month’s ‘Six questions in 60 seconds’ interview we speak to Brachers Managing Partner, Joanna Worby.

    Joanna has spent her career at Brachers, with 2021 marking her 30th year at the firm. She was appointed Managing Partner in 2013.

    What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

    It’s a day to celebrate women, to reflect on how far we have come to achieve equality but also to take time to consider how much more we need to achieve and what part we can play in this.

    According to the World Economic Forum, gender parity will not be attained for almost a century, probably longer, so the theme of ‘choose to challenge’ is inspired in light of the action we still need to take to address this.

    What do you think are the biggest challenges facing women in business today?

    I think many women who continue to face gender inequality in the workplace feel the pressure to prove themselves in what is often a masculine environment and unfortunately dealing with stigma and discrimination is part of this struggle.

    Thankfully I have not experienced this in my career but two challenges I have seen time and again are the difficulty in balancing personal and professional responsibilities, particularly in the absence of an adequate support system, and timidity. By the latter I mean many women are not bold enough to promote and be proud of their accomplishments and instead show a great amount of humility.

    As part of challenging gender imbalance in business, women need to be confident to own their success, not only because it is self-motivating but also because it will inspire people around them to follow their example.

    What is Brachers doing to challenge gender imbalance?

    We currently have more female employees than male overall but our Partner split is 14 women to 17 men. This is in part indicative of the two challenges noted above, which can contribute to a higher percentage of women leaving the profession mid-way through their career than men.

    Our focus is therefore on flexibility and trying to support all staff, but particularly female staff, to be able to balance their commitments in a way that doesn’t impact on their career progression. We are also stepping up our mentoring, on top of monthly 1:1 meetings, to ensure staff have the opportunity to discuss challenges and how we can support them.

    Name a woman that inspires you and why?

    I think it is appropriate to choose a woman of the moment and that must be Jacinda Ardern, the New Zealand Prime Minister. Not only the youngest head of state and the second female leader to have had a baby in office but she has also proved herself again and again by being an authentic leader. She is engaging, compassionate and an inspiration for women worldwide.

    What is the best piece of advice anyone has given in your career?

    Keep learning, believe in yourself and always be a team player.

    What advice would you give to women looking to progress their career in leadership roles?

    As well as the advice above, I’d say be authentic. People are quick to spot if you’re trying to be someone you’re not and it is an admirable quality when a person has the confidence to stay true to themselves.

    This content is correct at time of publication

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