Welcome to part three of our #wombsonstrike stories and information for female entrepreneurs and women in business enterprise.
This time we are honoured to have received Katrina Cliffe’s story.
Katrina is an inspiration and successful business woman. Reading her thoughts below I can’t help but wonder if we should be lobbying the government for a more realistic legislation on KIT days… after all they want women in business so let’s make it fairer and more realistic for them. Would you join the campaign?
Since I started my business, KC Communications, a thriving marketing consultancy in August 2014, I’ve regularly come across women who are putting off having children due to the inflexibilities it presents to business owning women.
Having done some research, businesses operated by women are the fastest growing but they are also more likely to cease trading* too? Why? The answer is not because the business is failing, but many cite personal reasons for why they close and my bet is that these women want to have or grow their families and as a business owner they struggle to make this viable.
I’m a mother to two girls who I had in my twenties, way before the idea of starting a business was even in my head. My children were planned I’ll add and in total I’ve had 4 pregnancies, with my first resulting in a late loss when I was just 20, my second an early miscarriage and with both girls I had extended periods of bed-rest.
If I had to go through all this now, including looking after my babies in the first 9 months of their lives and beyond I seriously doubt my business would still exist. Luckily I do have members of staff that can cover short absences but how would I and my staff actually cope should I wish to take maternity leave?
As I write this blog post, I’m on annual leave. I worked in the car responding to emails, setting tasks for my employees for the week ahead, arranging appointments for when I’m back, and writing a new client proposal (I have 2 more to do). With the governments allowed “keeping in touch days” is that really enough for a woman who is owns / is running a business yet still wants to have some quality time with her baby? I think not.
Keep in touch “days” are used whether you use 1 hour or 8 and as a mother running a business it is highly unlikely you are going to leave your weeks old baby for a full 8 hours, instead you would choose to dip in and out as suited. Not only this but perhaps an hour a day or even a week is all that is needed to keep things operational?
Would I have another baby? No, I’m glad I had mine young, although I’m still juggling the joys of being a business owning, working mother I certainly could not imagine how pregnancy and a baby would impact on my business.
Female business owners contribute a lot to the economy and a lot I have met are passionate about supporting others, in particular women to be able to work and have families. However, if policies continue to be inflexible it will lead to women opting to be employed and having their babies on other businesses time. I’m not saying female business owners should get special treatment but if the government wants a strong economy this is an area they need to investigate and support.
I’ve worked extremely hard to get my business to the position it is in now. I contribute to the economy through jobs provisions, taxes and fully support work experience opportunities. If I had a baby, all this would simply disappear, which is why I fully support the #WombsOnStrike campaign.
*Stats obtained from https://www.prowess.org.uk/facts
Katrina started her career aged just 15 as a business administration apprentice before progressing through the ranks, undertaking a number of qualifications and raising a family. Her first child, a son, Casey was born too soon when Katrina was just 20, whilst eldest daughter Stevie was born when Katrina was 22, younger daughter, Jaime followed 5 years later.
With a business diploma in marketing and communications and over 10 years experience both agency and client side, Katrina has worked on a number of exciting projects and travelled the globe managing the marketing remit for a global facing software company.
In August 2014 Katrina decided to invest her experience in her own venture, KC Communications, which offers a variety of marketing solutions for businesses that don’t have the time or don’t want to invest in a permanent resource to managing their marketing in-house.
KC Communications now work with a variety of businesses across a number of industries undertaking various activities on their behalf including marketing, PR and social media through to branding, event planning and web development.
In the last 12 months the business has grown to a team of three, been recognised for their commitment to apprenticeships and been shortlisted in the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement and Forward Ladies, Women in Business Awards.
Would you like to share your story? Get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org
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