Women in business: What can we learn from the EHS industry?
On 8th March each year, the world takes the opportunity to recognize the contributions and achievements of women.
Though females have had to fight harder for equal rights (and in many cases they still don't have parity), the EHS industry is actually one that can teach other industries a thing or two when it comes to women in business.
What is International Women’s Day?
An annual event, International Women’s Day is an awareness campaign designed to highlight “social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”, as well as calling on the world to bring about gender equality. The first event was held as far back as 1911 and has grown into a global event where people come together to raise funds and awareness.
In recent years, the event has been marked with a particular theme; the 2021 theme is “Choose to Challenge” - encouraging the world to challenge gender discrimination and inequality.
Leading women in the EHS sector
In fact, you need look no further than Shirley Parsons herself, our founder who has become an international success story and a leading light for women in this industry.
Starting in an era where it was much more common for men to be leaders in industrial jobs, Shirley became a pioneer and trailblazer in EHS. Starting at the age of 28, Shirley forged a career for herself in the industry, setting up businesses before identifying a gap in the market for recruitment.
To this day, Shirley Parsons continues to be a leading light in the industry. Indeed, Shirley was nominated for the SHP “Most Influential Person in H&S” award in 2020, with a glowing recommendation that said: “Her real contribution and even her legacy to the Health & Safety community is the concept of altruistic service – helping and supporting professionals in their careers and supporting businesses to develop stronger and more effective HSE functions.”
Thankfully, people like Shirley have paved the way for many more women to follow their aspirations and become leaders in the business world - including the EHS sector. Today there are many great female EHS professionals making waves in the industry.
Hilda Solis and Eula Bingham are two familiar names in the sector, having held senior roles as Head of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Secretary of Labor respectively. Meanwhile, Gina McCarthy became the country’s first National Climate Advisor in January 2021 as the Biden administration took power.
And we’re not alone in celebrating the women of the EHS sector - the compliance platform Encamp has a feature on its website highlighting and shining a spotlight on females in the space with the theme “women empowering women”.
Let’s celebrate women in EHS for more than just a day
Though there’s a strong female presence, we’re eager to see more women in the EHS industry making their mark. Currently, women account for 19% of the U.S. EHS workforce - and we’re keen to see that rise.
Join us in celebrating the women in the EHS industry, and those in business around the world, not just today but every day.