8 March 2019 | Wendy Bartlett
It irritates me when people talk about equality in the workplace and say, "We should treat everybody the same." It's often said in the context of gender and it annoys me. Everyone is an individual and should be respected as such no matter what gender they are.
I like to think I am very different from the next person, regardless of whether they're a man or woman. I enjoy being different so why should people treat me the same as other people who are nothing like me?
More than 20 years ago, I started Bartlett Mitchell with Ian Mitchell with a view to create a business that does things differently and celebrates individuals, their personalities and needs.
At the time, there weren't many women in senior positions in our world. Senior positions in catering and facilities management are very much dominated by men.
My view has always been to celebrate the fact that everyone has something to offer, no matter what. I was a woman launching a business in a world where seemingly only men did this. Did it hold me back? Absolutely not. I think it helped me. Ian and I have our own personalities and values, and we were able to use these differences to vary our offering to clients looking to procure catering services.
Any good and progressive sector needs personality and individuality - it helps us continue to question, improve and evolve.
We set up an 'Inspiring Woman' award last year. It wasn't to recognise women who are 'fighting to make it good in a man's world' but to encourage talented women in our business and give them the confidence and courage to keep pushing.
Many of these women have families or other challenges so we wanted them to know we will support them to be the best they can be.
This is a theme that runs through the 'International Women's Day' movement. If the playing field is not level, action needs to be taken. However, being a woman doesn't have to hold you back in our sector.
Work hard, keep taking a fresh look at what you're doing, and celebrate the things that help you stand out.
Wendy Bartlett is founder of Bartlett Mitchell