International Women’s Day: Aconveyancing staff share their thoughts

On International Women’s Day 2022, some of the staff at Aconveyancing share their thoughts on being a woman in the workplace.

Laura Foster on working throughout pregnancy

Being pregnant and working is tough, in any type of job. Juggling appointments, baby planning and physical changes all pose their own unique challenges. Luckily, we work in a business filled with mums (and dads), including the founder herself at Aconveyancing, where pregnancy is not considered or treated as a disadvantage or inconvenience.

As a full-time conveyancer and expectant mum, the last few months have brought a mix of unknowns. My director and HR manager assessed the environment and potential pressure that I work in and immediately came up with a plan to eliminate any stress or hazards and have continued to monitor my health throughout. I appreciate that not all expectant mums have this experience and organisations like Pregnant Then Screwed exist to raise awareness of maternity discrimination, legally protect mothers at work and close the gender pay gap.

Debbie Perry on the invisible role of caring for sick parents

I am a carer for a dependent parent and while many rights are in place for working parents, working carers are often overlooked. This can often make it challenging to strike the right balance between providing the support needed at home and earning a wage, maintaining a career and identity, especially in a demanding profession like ours.

Luckily, my situation is treated with the same empathy and flexibility as anyone else in the office. Plans are in place at home to ensure that I am not needed between 9am and 5pm but there are always times in life where things don’t go “to plan”.

A lot of firms have the expectation that “good solicitors” come in early and leave the office late. But this just isn’t the case. More can always be done to recognise that we are good at our job but we are also people with families, not robots churning out work.

Hannah Johnson on adapting to the ever-changing schedule of young children

I’ve been given the opportunity to work from home two days a week to fit around my childcare arrangements; not only does this help me financially, by not having to go part-time or fund childcare on these days, it also allows me to spend time with my son during the week which I would otherwise not get the chance to do. I’m still able to work to my usual level and hours on these days and the team in the office are always supportive.

When my son starts pre-school in September, I know that the management team are approachable and will help me in finding a way to incorporate being able to work flexibly around his new routine; I have already had initial conversations with Michelle who has been extremely encouraging and supportive in allowing me to find a work routine that not only benefits the company, but also enables me to be there for my son in his first year of education!

Michelle Oliver on reframing “working moms”

I had my baby in 2021. She’s my first, and I think with many other first-time mothers, there is a period of transition, figuring out the new version of yourself, and how a career forms part of that new life.

One of the reasons I chose to return to work early was because I was lucky enough to be in a period where working from home was encouraged, allowing me to watch Mila grow, breastfeed and achieve her milestones, which I may have missed otherwise.  I appreciate that this was a unique experience and not all working moms have the chance to make such decisions and I am grateful to the business for supporting me.

That said, isn’t it time we reconsidered the phrase “working mom”?  Surely being a working parent is the same thing, despite your gender and no one says “working dad”. We’re lucky at Aconveyancing to have an inclusive employment experience, stemming from our One Team ethos, and I encourage other firms to consider the returning to work phase for new moms, be empathetic, be flexible. It’s one of the hardest transitions in life and more can be done to make it easier.

Samantha Burrows on protecting women’s health at all ages

While there are maternity laws to support women, very little is in place, if anything, to support women’s health at other times in their lives.  If we consider menopause for example, a process of change that women will experience at some point in their developed adult life, the negative stigma that surrounds menopause is still very much alive.

Our team here is predominantly female and to account for that, we have processes in place to support flexible working, open conversations around women’s health and genuine care for the wellbeing of all team members, at all ages and stages of their lives.

Conveyancing firms have a responsibility to support the health of menopausal staff and if we want to continue to increase the number of women in senior leadership roles, we need to be more open about what menopause is and how it affects both individuals and organisations.

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