Systematics’ Christine Bhatt features in Business Time in Essex magazine

Our very own Christine Bhatt recently featured in Business Time in Essex magazine, talking about gender diversity in business and management.

Christine had the following to say on the subject: “I strongly feel there are barriers to women attaining senior management positions due to perceptions about women’s potential in traditional and male-dominated industries such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). In the technological sector that I work in, it is not only challenging to attract women to the field, but also very difficult to keep them.

“I think one of the biggest barriers that still exists is the expectations that women put on themselves and on other women. We still expect ourselves to be on top of the game, whether being an outstanding leader, a perfect daughter, wife or mother.

“Unfortunately there comes a point in time where it all becomes too much,” she said.

“We need more support at home and need more organisations prepared to be flexible with working arrangements and looking at the long-term potential such changes can bring to the organisation.”

She added: “Companies should have a mentoring scheme to help women rise to the top. This is where women should also come forward to be considered for senior roles and work together as a team to realise this goal.

“We should be looking at the real issues faced by women such as childcare, returning to work after a career break and work flexibility rather than focusing on a percentage.

“It is not a realistic aim to have a 50/50 split, as this may compromise some sectors of industry. Just for the sake of achieving a number, we cannot put the success of any organisations at risk. I really do believe that by understanding the actual issues first and actively promoting women in the workplace, this will help address the imbalance.

Looking back over the course of her own career and experiences, she said: “I started my career working as a market analyst in the agricultural sector, a male-dominated sector.

“I still remember being asked in my interview whether I intended to get married and have kids soon after joining! I certainly took issue to this point at the time, but fast-forward to the 21st century and things have now changed for the better – and a question like that would not be asked anymore.”

Despite such advancements, Christine suggested that further change was still needed.

“Although I have seen positive changes in women being promoted to senior roles within the industry that I work in, there is still a lot of work to be done in encouraging women to come forward and be the champions of change in their workplace.

“At Systematics, we have a mentoring scheme for young adults looking to gain experience in the business field. This is one area where I think we can make a significant change by instilling sound business practices into young people, including shifting the stereotypical image and promoting a positive attitude and outlook to business.

“After all, the young people of today will be the leaders of tomorrow,” she said.

The full article can be accessed on Business Time Essex’s website here. Christine’s comments appear on pages 18 to 20.


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