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Women’s Inclusive Network at IPO

Hazel Thorpe - Senior Patent Examiner and Women’s Network Chair has been shortlisted for the Welsh STEM Women of the Year 2020

Network supporting the IPO to be a workplace where everyone can reach their full potential regardless of gender. We want to play our part in tackling any barriers to recruiting and progressing women in the workplace so that they can achieve and prosper.

We set up our Women’s Inclusive Network in 2018 to support female colleagues and help them access all that the IPO has to offer.  We are a network for everyone who wants to make the IPO a brilliant place for women to work.  And that generally means a brilliant place to work for everyone!

Things we’re most proud of this year

  • Cara Moore Imposter Syndrome talk 

o    Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which a person doubts their accomplishments and has persistent fears of being exposed as a "fraud". Despite external evidence of their competence, they remain convinced they don’t deserve the success they’ve achieved, which they attribute to luck or timing, This can lead them to self-sabotage their opportunities. 

o    Cara helped the audience learn techniques such as ‘voicing’ limiting thoughts to help put them in perspective, recognising and appreciating successes, asking for help when needed and being gutsy! 

  • Voice Coaching with Cath Baxter on International Women’s Day 2020 

o    Cath spoke about adding more impact to our communication.  She advocated communicating deliberately by pausing appropriately, focusing on our message and cutting fluff and ‘um’ bad habits ‘- and whatever’.  

o    This was an interactive session. We identified our speaking habits and practiced her ‘tips’ there and then, using cards from the game ‘Articulate’.  This was a lot harder than it sounds! 

  • Chwarae Teg deep dive exploring gender perceptions in the IPO. 

o    Chwarae Teg led focus group discussions based on data from the Collaborating with Men survey in 2018. 

o    This fleshed out our data and really helped us to understand the differences in perspectives from different genders. 

  • An Intersectional Approach: Diversity Network Chairs Panel Discussion 

o    Feedback through our Engagement channels told us that we were doing too much Diversity work: that we’d forgotten men, were doing too much for women, that Inclusion isn’t needed in this day and age and that we were overlooking more pressing issues. 

o    We were thrilled to have an open and frank conversation in which people shared their feelings and aired their views.  We discussed the issues around them and the concept of ‘Privilege’ in some depth. 

The current emergency and resulting lockdown affects everyone significantly and differently.  It affects the women of the IPO who are trying to work in a house never intended to accommodate a (2?) home office(s), or trying to keep the kids busy, or do schooling at home, caring for parents, and keeping enough food on the table (not to mention toilet roll!).   

But these aren’t just women’s issues.  They affect everyone, regardless of gender, regardless of network.  Some people will be affected more than others – those who have less Privilege, and as Privilege is invisible to those who have it, it may be difficult to see why some people are struggling more than others. 

It’s more important than ever that we work in a way that tries to include everyone.  A way that enables everyone to contribute to IPO objectives.  We are working with the I&D team and all the other networks to champion not just women’s issues - because they rarely are - but to support all our workers through this crisis. 

Things we’ll concentrate on next year

  • Women in STEM and the Gender Pay Gap 
  • Gender perceptions 
  • Menopause support and awareness 
  • Supporting career development 

Articles in Women’s Inclusive Network at IPO

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