Skip to content

‘Be unapologetic about change’ Celebrating International Women’s Day 2024

  • News
Image shows the panellist speakers smiling at the International Women's Day event 2024

This week, alongside Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing (MTVH), we had the pleasure of hosting a powerful event for International Women’s Day on the theme of forging a better and more inclusive world for women.

Colleagues from both organisations gathered in Hatton Gardens for a lively, and sometimes challenging discussion hosted by Certitude’s CEO Aisling Duffy. We heard from panel members Anna Severwright, co-convener of Social Care Future, Oyindamola Ossi Group HR Manager of Aldelia, and Ellamae Fullalove who alongside her housing role at MTVH, also founded Va Va Womb

The evening kicked off with a hard-hitting performance entitled ‘Brown girl like me’ from Neelofer Nova a poet, writer and spoken word artist who highlighted some of human rights issues still facing women internationally.

Image shows Neelofer Nova a poet, writer and spoken word artist performing at the Certitude and MTVH International Women's Day Event 2024

Aisling led the panel discussion by talking about the encouragement that has enabled her to get to where she is in her career because “Women who believed in us believed in me” adding “This event is an opportunity to talk about what we can do individually, together and as organisations to support inclusive working environments”.

Anna reflected on how she was treated as her disability became more visible in society;

“I wasn’t seen as a woman; I was treated like a child. There’s a real intersectionality to how women can sometimes be treated” Anna Severwright

Oyindamola talked about how few women CEOs there are in the UK’s top organisations and what we could do to change that. “It shows us the importance of sponsors and allyship by other women and men, to help pull other women into the room where these conversations and recommendations are happening”

Ellamae talked about her early diagnosis of Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome which led her to set up VaVawomb.

“I really wanted to shake the stigma and put on the Vagina Festival which was about providing a space for creativity and feminism to connect. To give a safe space for people to talk about infertility with other people who understood.”

When asked about their hopes for the next generation of women and girls;

Anna said “It would be amazing not to need International Women’s Day because it’s all sorted, but if that’s unrealistic, I hope the next generation just continue the fight.”

Oyindamola added “I want it to be the norm for women to be CEO so the conversation isn’t about how amazing it is that you’re a woman CEO, but just a normal conversation, about what were you doing before.”

Aisling reiterated that “We all have an important part to play in that allyship and sponsorship. Each of us should do what we can with what we’ve got. By God we’re good enough.”

Neelofer completed the session with a poem entitled ‘Blueprint for beauty’. Reminding everyone that true beauty should not be defined by society’s standards saying “My blueprint requirements are diversity, equity and freedom. So, look however and be however you want to be, this isn’t a one size fits all.”

Director of Development, Marianne Selby-Boothroyd, closed the event by announcing the launch of the Certitude Women’s Network which will be co-chaired by colleagues to further our work to support women working with Certitude.

Related pages