Get to know Clare Harris – Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Shape Talent

What’s been a defining moment for you as a woman in your career?

I work with Shape Talent as an Associate. This means I also run my own consultancy, as well as design/ deliver/ project manage work for Shape Talent. A defining moment of my career was when I spoke to Sharon about my aspirations for doing Associate work, whilst building my own business. I knew that I was entering a great working relationship when Sharon talked about there being an abundance of opportunities and the chance to leverage from all the experience we were gaining. That for me was when I knew that Sharon not only has a great business mind, but also ‘practiced what she preached’ about helping women accelerate their careers.

What’s your view on the current state of gender equity? 

It’s not a pretty picture. Stats such as how long it will take to close the gap between men and women’s’ earnings, and the recent government decisions not to support women in the workplace experiencing the menopause, paint a pretty gloomy picture. It just adds to our resolve that there is so much more to do. Hopefully though, one day we’ll need to find a different specialism and our daughters will be able to ask us what all the fuss was about. But I suspect it’s more likely to be our grandchildren, or great-grandchildren.

What have you read recently?

For Christmas I was given Michelle Obama’s latest book ‘The light we carry’. There are so many personal stories she shares about being a woman of colour, with tall stature, in a high profile and highly visible role. She also shares her experience and some solid tips around motherhood, wifehood and moving into an older phase of life. She shared a piece of research about women’s representation that really struck me. There was a recent study of monuments in the US funded by the Mellon Foundation. Their findings were that whilst the vast majority honored white men, half of whom were enslavers and 40% born into privilege. While that didn’t really surprise me, what did (and I suppose didn’t) was that only 6% were of women, and that statues of mermaids outnumbered statues of female members of congress by 11 to 1. I appreciate this is in the US, but I suspect the same is probably true here. As the saying goes ‘if I can’t see it, I can’t be it’. What are we telling our daughters about what to aspire to!

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

Most of my spare time is spent with the family.  I have two kids and the role is starting to change from being very hands on, to being the taxi driver and wallet!

Do you face the double burden as a woman with a career and if so, how do you manage it? 

My mum gave me a great piece of advice when I moved in with my boyfriend 25 years ago (who’s now my husband).  She said that whatever tasks I take on at home at that point, I could expect myself to still be doing in retirement. It stuck with me, so I set things up so that we have a fairly equal balance at home of domestic and childcare roles. I’ll be passing the same advice to my children (my son as well as my daughter).