Today is International Women's Day (IWD) and people around the world are celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Although its roots are in the UK’s suffragists and suffragettes’ movement, and other women’s equality campaigning groups around the world, today IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere so it isn’t specific to any country, group or organisation.

The theme of this year’s IWD is #pressforprogress reflecting the global momentum for accelerating gender parity through campaigns such as #MeToo and #TimesUp.

To mark IWD we have interviewed three of our employees from across the Cavendish Nuclear sector and asked them to name a woman that has inspired them.

  • Lisa Ingham – Business Growth Manager
  • Phil Gascoigne – Mechanical Engineer
  • Aileen Haggis – Quality Engineer, EDF Account

Cavendish Nuclear is committed to enhancing the professional development of women, inspiring the next generation of women into the nuclear industry and to raising its profile and brand to increase the number of women joining Cavendish Nuclear.

During the last 18 months, Cavendish Nuclear has been making visible changes to support both the development and recruitment of women. Highlights include:

  • In December 2016 we launched our Women’s Network in Cavendish. This was established by one of our Executive board members and supported by our Chief Executive as the Executive sponsor.
  • We are proud that a third of our graduate community have been young women in recent years
  • All of our graduates are STEM ambassadors.
  • We’ve introduced blind recruitment into our recruitment strategy to ensure fairness and equality
  • Maternity pay arrangements have been revised and improved
  • We are delivering an acceptance rate of 98% for flexible working requests
  • At present, we have 38% female representation at board and senior exec level, an improvement from 20% in 2014.

Lisa Ingham

Business Growth Manager

What is your role?
My primary role is providing support to bids and working within the business development team, which includes  organising events and supporting socio-economic initiatives.  I am a member of the Women’s Network Group and I am looking to help set up a Working Mothers Networking Group.

What are you most proud of? 
I am definitely most proud of being a working Mum.  I have a 19-month old little girl, Isla, and I have now been back in the business for 12 months after returning from maternity leave.  Being able to have a career where I can give it the dedication it deserves, together with still being able to spend quality time with Isla is amazing.  Having a work life balance is so important to me - Being able to enjoy work and have this balance is a great achievement, and I have found Cavendish Nuclear to be really supportive , particularly around flexible working.  

Which woman has inspired you and why?
Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, ethical British business leader and socially-poised entrepreneur extraordinaire.  As with most small businesses, Anita set up her business out of necessity to provide a livelihood for herself and her two daughters. She is well known for her inclusive approach and implementation of a management style that is driven by merit and recognition and reward.  This is really important to me.  Anita has quoted “it’s not about one being better than the other, it’s about having a real partnership”. This is something I strive to support when working on bids and as part of the business development team.

Phil Gascoigne

Mechanical Engineer

What is your role?
My current role is ‘Site Technical Lead’ at Aldermaston; the liaison between the site based operations team, and the off-site based engineering team.

What are you most proud of?
My younger brother (Chris, 22) for his resilience and example setting during chronic illness (Crohn’s & Colitis / IBD). After 4 years of hospital stays and regular pain he is now dedicated to helping other sufferers and raising awareness through his own social media. Over 2000 sufferers follow him directly for the advice, positivity, and hope he shares. Please do email me if you know of someone who might benefit from this.

Which woman has inspired you and why?
As a child, Elizabeth Nyamayaro was saved from a Zimbabwe famine by UN Aid. She has since dedicated her efforts to secure a position with the UN and today is a senior advisor. She took an innovative approach towards development by identifying men as a solution to end gender inequality. She has gathered enormous support and has rapidly made extensive progress.

Aileen Haggis

Quality Engineer – EDF Account

What is your role?
To support the Strategic Spares department by monitoring
the progress of the project’s quality arrangements through to delivery stage, and
compiling the supporting Life Time Quality Records.

What are you most proud of?
My children - they have taught me so much.  From them, I have learnt tolerance and frustration, pride and embarrassment, how to laugh and cry, and that you can have a massive impact on young people by just being around them.  The biggest thing is not to take yourself too seriously but to take pride in everything you do and always try your best, no-one will ever to able to knock you for that.

Which woman has inspired you and why?
My sister, Alison. She made me believe that I can do “it” and to have faith in my abilities.  She was an inspiration as a mother putting her daughter and husband first, and a professional business woman, proving that it is possible to have a good work/life balance.  Being 10 years older, she was wise, gentle, caring, loving, selfless and my “go to” person for support and guidance. I hope to be like her one day.