International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate women leaders everywhere who are campaigning for a better, more sustainable and just world. To highlight the day, we asked two women from ResponsibleSteel – Hayley Jarick and Ali Lucas-  to tell us what International Women’s Day means for them.

Hayley Jarick is  Director ResponsibleSteel, CEO and Company Secretary of the Supply Chain Sustainability School Limited, worked many roles in many industries, mentor, volunteer, wife, and mum.

Ali Lucas is ResponsibleSteel’s Acting CEO. Ali worked on the launch of the Forest Stewardship Council and leading campaigns against the illegal trade in wildlife. She was a co-founder of The Climate Group and led WWF UK’s marketing and communications work delivering annual income of £70 million. Ali joined ResponsibleSteel in 2019.

What does International Women’s day mean to you?

HJ: It is a day where women are socially permitted to celebrate their achievements without the negative stigma that typically follows boasting. However, it is also a day to reflect on the zealousness of your ambitions and those you officially/unofficially lead.

AL: It’s a reminder – a time to reflect on women in leadership and know that seeing women in different roles of leadership is important in changing the future for young girls

Tell us how you first became involved in the environment movement?

HJ: I was born. It’s always been a core value of mine, but I only started working in the field after being inspired by an amazing woman, Amy Luscombe, who showed me how to unite my personal values with my career.

AL: I was drawn to working for an organisation that I had supported during my childhood – World Wildlife Fund – which worked  globally to save species and their habitats

What’s the best thing about your job?

HJ: The best thing about my job is working for purpose. I know that one day I can sit back and tell my kids and grandkids that I spent my time and used my talent in the pursuit of making the world a better place for them and future generations.

AL:  Being able to see how different sectors can achieve real impact by working together – not always an easy conversation !

Your proudest “environmental or ESG”  moment? Why?

HJ: I work with a diverse group of people from various industries and sized organisations. And the one thing that gives me pride, above all others, is the look in an individual’s eye when they first realise the opportunities and benefits of sustainability for themselves, their family and their career.

AL: Launching The Climate Group at a time when, unbelievably, the issue of climate change was just emerging into mainstream dialogue.

What role does gender play in the climate crisis do you think?

HJ: I don’t think gender plays a role explicitly, but the lack of diversity more broadly in crucial decision-making positions is a significant contributor to human-induced climate change.

AL: The real impacts of climate change are more than often felt at a devastating human level – for example floods and drought where women tend to be on the front line of dealing with the practical problems – quite literally, survival.

Are there enough women leaders in climate change? And if not, how can we change this?

HJ: There are plenty of women leaders in climate change; you just have to look at groups like 1 Million Women {}. The problem is we need more followers of all genders.

AL: There are many pioneering women working on climate change around the globe. It’s an exciting arena for women representing many different aspects of this issue –  including science. Women everywhere are rising to the challenge and leading on solutions. I find many women in this field, including the women I work with and our  members, very inspiring. They give me hope.

What does Responsibility mean to you?

HJ:  Responsibility is owning the impact of our actions and apathy, intentional or incidental, whether detrimental or delightful.

AL: It really is every person playing their own part on a daily basis – small changes in personal behaviour can have a big influence and a real  impact.

Through history, which famous environmental or social justice (or both) leaders have inspired you and why?

HJ:  When I was a teenager, I was privileged enough to hear a live address from Hafsat Abiola, an inspiration advocate for democracy, gender equality and women’s leadership in Africa and around the globe. She responded to her father’s imprisonment and assassination of her mother by founding the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND) and continuing the progress her parents started. After hearing her story, many of us in the room wanted to know how we could help her. Her response has stuck with me ever since. She didn’t want us to help her. Instead, she wanted us to find a cause that had meaning for us and to be passionate about that.

AL: Christiana de Figueres. She is such as icon and recognised leader on global climate change. Assuming responsibility for the international climate change negotiations after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009, she was determined to lead the process to a universally agreed regulatory framework – and she did it!

Do you have a favourite ecosystem/flagship species? If so, what is it and why?

HJ: Not favourites, but the connections between species still intrigue me.

AL: I’ve always been drawn to the Arctic – very enigmatic and mysterious – that very fragile ecosystem of giant expanses of ice and snow, huge icebergs, drifting in the arctic seas supporting a myriad of plant and animal life …and a huge indicator of how the world’s climate is changing

In a sentence, what is leadership?

HJ: Leadership is inspiring and helping others become their best selves.

AL:  Having a clear vision – being able to listen but having confidence to take the decisions

Inspiring stuff! Meanwhile,  we’d also love to know from all our members and supporters who inspires you? Please do leave a comment on our Twitter or LinkedIn.

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