International Women’s Day 2023: The women of Agilio discuss gender equity




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Women of Agilio discuss what this year’s International Women’s Day theme ‘Embrace Equity’ means for them


International Women’s Day 2023: The women of Agilio discuss gender equity

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD) 2023, an annual worldwide conversation surrounding women, including professional, cultural, societal, and political discussions.

We at Agilio acknowledge that joining conversations, and speaking out about issues that women are facing, can go a long way. So, we’ve asked a few of the many fantastic women across the Agilio Group some questions relating to this year’s IWD theme, ‘Embrace Equity’.

Surina chibber

Surina qualified as a GP 10 years ago in 2013, and as a mother of two children, applied her experience and need to work flexibly to co-found My Locum Manager in 2017. My Locum Manager is a flexible working platform for primary care practices, helping them connect with the community of local healthcare professionals available in their area.

“Our vision was to support other GPs to work flexibly as locums and empower them with the digital tools to work with autonomy and flexibility. The platform grew from supporting GPs to practices, PCNs and ICBs”, Surina said.

My Locum Manager became part of Agilio software’s vision last year to deliver best in class digital technology to support Primary Care and I was excited to become part of the team.

Now, Surina is the commercial director of My Locum Manager.

“My role involves working with integrated care boards to deliver digital flexible working across primary care and tools to support recruitment and retention of locum GPs and primary care staff.”

What does this year’s IWD theme Embrace Equity mean to you?

“In the words of Susan K. Gardner: ‘Equality is giving everyone a shoe. Equity is giving everyone a shoe that fits’. Balancing my career and being a mother of two children brings its own opportunities and challenges. For me, embracing equity has meant recognising my own circumstances and commitments and being able to access the right resources and opportunities needed to do my best.”

What do you think business owners can do to tackle gender inequity?

“Create a supportive environment. Having a supportive environment to identify and share challenges to gender equity is important, and being aware of how to access resources and tools to implement in your business to promote gender equity is valuable in tackling gender inequity and giving women the opportunity to perform at their best level.”

Since you started working, do you feel that, as a society, we’re getting closer to gender equity?

“I think, as a society, we are much closer to gender equity across some sectors. Flexible working, the ability to work from home, balancing commitments such as childcare and taking time off to access further training and upskilling has all helped. There is still a long way to go but on the whole, it feels like society is recognising the importance and value of women in the business space. Tackling the gender inequity women face in these environments benefits not just the employer, but society as a whole.”

Cheryl hanlon

Upon leaving university, Cheryl started her first ‘tech’ role as ‘Junior Developer/Tech Support’ for a company that provided bespoke software solutions. She stayed with this company for over 11 years and was ‘Development Team Leader’ at the time she left and joined Agilio permanently, after being loaned to Agilio (Clarity Informatics at the time)  to work on the Clarity Appraisal Toolkit solution. Cheryl has now been at Agilio for over 10 years!

Cheryl is now the Lead Developer within the Software Engineering Team and she works on the suite of products Agilio offers to customers. Her main focus is on designing software systems that are scalable, robust, secure, and efficient, and her role involves making decisions about the architecture, selecting appropriate technologies, tools, and definition and adhering to best practices and coding standards.

“I joined Agilio over 10 years ago and, whilst my core responsibilities have remained much the same, our products have been evolving, meaning the size of our teams and the complexity of our solutions increases, which introduces a new set of challenges.

“As a team of software engineers and more so myself as a Lead Developer, we are constantly vigilant about keeping up to date with the latest technologies and ensuring we are aware of new security risks in the ever-changing tech landscape.”

Who do you feel holds responsibility for taking action to achieve gender equity? 

“Everyone. We all need to be accountable for our behaviours.  

“There’s a lot of unfortunate and unnecessary stigma surrounding the word ‘feminism’.

A lot of people think it’s not ‘cool’ to be a feminist, and a lot of men don’t associate as being one, even though they do believe everyone should be treated the same regardless of sex or gender, which is exactly what feminism is about.   

“As a child, I loved computers and video games and used to follow the coding tutorials from magazines on my C16+4 and my Spectrum 128k. I’ve lost count of the times I was told I shouldn’t be playing with computers as they are for boys. Luckily, my mother always stood up for me and allowed me to pursue my own interests. I think the parents out there ultimately have the most power to affect change.   

“Until everyone is on-board, it’s difficult to progress as a society.”

What do you think business owners can do to tackle gender inequity? 

“Education is key. Employers can put on training sessions, webinars, talks, guest speakers, and seminars to get all employees engaged and interested. We can’t move forward if not everyone understands the issues at hand.   

“An example of one of the issues at hand is ‘Unconscious Gender Bias’; this can influence the way you hire, promote, evaluate, or interact with individuals in your personal and professional life, and you might not even be aware that you are doing it.”

Since you started working, do you feel that, as a society, we’re getting closer to gender equity?

“Society in general now has a much more open dialogue around issues such as mental health and discrimination in general. I can only hope that with frank discussion and education, we can make steps in the right direction.”

ella holmes

Ella joined myhrtoolkit/Agilio SME last September as a Marketing Executive and has been involved with various campaigns promoting both myhrtoolkit and Agilio SME, most notable with the iLearn SME promotions.

“My marketing journey began whilst I was studying my Master’s in Global Marketing. After completing my Master’s, I moved to a role as a Marketing Executive at a marketing agency in Sheffield, where I assisted in several initiatives and campaigns for car and vehicle dealerships.

“During summer last year, I came across my current role being advertised online and thought it was a perfect fit for my skills and aspirations and was delighted to have secured it!”

What does this year’s IWD theme ‘Embrace Equity’ mean to you?

“To me, embracing equity is about everyone to recognising that they have a part to play in creating a society where there is equity between genders. It is something that is sometimes overlooked in favour of ‘equality’, but equity is an essential step towards equality. By striving for equity, we are paving the way to a more equal society in the future, and so it is something we should embrace to move forward.”

Who do you feel holds responsibility for taking action to achieve gender equity?

“Everyone! I think that the responsibility for ensuring that progress is made toward gender equity lies with every person, regardless of sex or gender identity.However, I do believe that those in positions of power in society and the working world have more ability to push through gender equity reforms. This can be done by politicians championing gender equity becoming more prominent in policies and law, and by those influential in the world of work enshrining these types of policies in their industries and businesses.”

What do you think business owners can do to tackle gender inequity?

“I think this completely depends on the business itself. For example, a small business owner can promote awareness and implement small policies specific to their operations to help promote gender equity, such as specific training for their staff regarding topics concerning gender, or by adjusting any existing policies to be more flexible regarding gender-based issues (such as extended sickness leave for those experiencing the menopause).

“However, we must recognise the limitations of small business owners to make an impact outside of their own employee base – therefore I think most of the responsibility rests with CEOs and senior leadership teams in larger organisations. Once these larger organisations can prove that gender equity policies and procedures are beneficial with little impact to their businesses, this can then set a precedent for future laws, policies, and new workplace norms that will become commonplace in society.”

Since you started working, do you feel that, as a society, we’re getting closer to gender equity?

“I think so! There are even more initiatives pertaining to gender equity than when I began in the world of work a couple of years ago, especially with the power of social media. I am especially excited that the stigma surrounding menstruation and menopause is breaking down in both the workplace and wider society. I also believe that it is becoming common knowledge that gender equity benefits everyone, including those who identify as male, especially when relating to childcare provisions and paternity leave initiatives.”

Toni harper

Toni joined Agilio 8 months ago as the Marketing Executive for Agilio Dental, after previous experience in different roles within dental practices.

“Before Agilio, I’ve not only been a dental nurse, but for the past 10 years I was working as a practice manager. The role of running a practice gave me useful knowledge that helps me in my role now; I have insider understanding of what makes life in practice easier, which software and systems a dental business can benefit from to save them time and money, and allow their full attention to be on patient care.

“My role has changed greatly as I initially had limited experience, but I have learned so much since I started 8 months ago. It can be a fast-paced role at times, as we are releasing new products and improving existing products.”

Who do you feel holds responsibility for taking action to achieve gender equity?

“It is a systemic issue and for real change, we need commitment from senior leaders to take action and address barriers to gender equity such as the gender pay gap, lack of diversity, discrimination and under-representation.” 

What do you think business owners can do to tackle gender inequity?

“Business owners can do better by engaging and listening to employees and embracing inclusion to create a diverse and inclusive workplace, valuing the perspectives of all team members.

“By promoting education for everyone across the whole organisation and implementing zero-tolerance policies, business owners will gain more trust and commitment and thus see an improvement in employee engagement and retention.”   

Since you started working, do you feel that, as a society, we’re getting closer to gender equity?

“I think we have more advocates who are working very hard, but I think the pandemic caused a huge setback to gender equity in many ways. Women definitely have substandard access to opportunities and resources, women’s health services are currently really suffering, the abortion laws in the USA are scary, and violence against women across the world is a major problem.

“In the workforce, there is a severe lack of female representation in senior positions and sector industries. There is a long, long way to go for gender equity, but it is important that everyone has self-reflection on their own biases and plays their part to support women and dismantle the old systems of the patriarchy.”

We wish everyone a Happy International Women’s Day! Let’s keep on talking about women’s issues and strive for gender equity together.




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