Based in Cambridge, scientist Claire is also a facilitator for Her Invitation – an inspirational organisation whose mission is to empower women with their ‘Increase your Power and Influence Workshops’. Let’s be quite clear here, this isn’t an anti-men organisation, but pro-women as their mission statement quotes:
… Her Invitation is pro women not anti-men. Although we believe there is a place for female centred training right now, we do not believe that segregating women from men or creating a gap between the two sexes is the answer. Instead, we believe that women and men should work alongside each other, respecting and honouring each other’s talents and views.
Our workshops remind women to speak up, to find their voice, to nurture their power and come to realise just how much influence they have on their careers, their families and those around them.
During the time I spent with Claire – to create bespoke, professional business head shots – she chatted about her role with the company and why she felt so passionately about the workshops she delivers: ‘ Working with extremely successful women and men, from both the corporate world and early stage ventures, I am constantly struck by the difference in gender outlook. Whilst men are happy to discuss their triumphs and explore their full potential, women frequently dismiss their success as mere luck or a result another person’s helping hand. This viewpoint is consistent whether the woman is at the beginning of her career path or a highly respected person of influence.
Beginning my career in science there were very few women role models for me to aspire to and, the unfortunate truth is that, whilst the situation has improved slightly, there still is an unnecessary, and inexplicable, gender difference between the numbers of successful female scientists compared to their male counterparts, all the way up to board level.
As a mother of a daughter who is fascinated by science, I have a desire to help shape the world of work that she will enter, such that her gender is not a hindrance to her career aspirations. Why should her opportunities be different to her brothers’? Educating our girls and boys that gender is no bar to ability is key for altering women’s self-perception, and therefore, that of wider society.
I have many bright, intellectual, energetic female friends who, having taken time out of a working environment to raise their young families, now so lack the confidence in their abilities that they are afraid to approach the work market again. There is so much wasted talent that, were these women to appreciate all they have to offer and believe in their own power and ability to shape their own lives, could make such a difference to our world.
I feel passionately that everyone has capabilities and being open to regaining control over your own choices comes from appreciating the power, and choices, you have as an individual.‘