Martin James Network celebrates International Woman’s Day

Martin James Network celebrates International Woman’s Day

The Martin James Network is passionate about forging the path towards a more gender-balanced world. Although we’ve seen a greater support of the cause in recent years, International Women’s Day (IWD) is the perfect opportunity to reinforce the idea that everyone has a role to play in today’s world, celebrating the achievements of women and calling for gender parity.

International Women’s Day, which is celebrated annually on 8th March, is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, and is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.

Across the world, from small, local celebrations through to largescale events and press conferences, people everywhere are delivering exciting and engaging accounts of the commitment individuals and businesses are making to raise awareness and change perceptions surrounding women’s equality.

The first​ ​IWD gathering took place in 1911 and was supported by over a million people in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, with the​ Socialist Party of America, United Kingdom’s Suffragists and Suffragettes and further groups already leading the way for the development of women’s rights and equality. Today, IWD belongs to all groups of people working towards equal rights for women across the world.

Around the start of the movement in the early 20th century, International Women’s Day focused on activism and fighting hard for equality, concentrating on securing the right to vote and equal pay for women. Although we’ve made great steps forwards regarding some of these issues, women’s voices in society and the gender pay gap still remain key priorities over a century later.

In the 1970’s, widespread feminist action saw women rallying, protesting and lobbying hard for inclusion, influence and equality, but the arrival of the 1980’s saw an influx of “Fix the Women” programs. These pieces were designed with positive connotations, trying to help women become more confident, visible, well-networked and assertive but instead they reinforced a notion that women needed to “act like men” and “fit” into existing patriarchal structures if they want to succeed.

Across the last 20 years, we’ve seen more positive progress for the cause. Organisations have started questioning patriarchal structures in work-related situation, moving towards more diverse recruiting, inclusive talent pipelines, and attention to wider diversity groups beyond gender such as race, LGBT+ and so forth.

In the past few years, we’ve seen more men become advocates and champions of change, recognising their pivotal position as a key supporter in women’s equality. Many progressive CEOs and influential leaders have committed via formal public channels to help build diverse and inclusive organisations that challenge stereotypes and bias.

The 2017 and 2018 campaigns saw International Women’s Day as the most discussed topic on Facebook by millions – that’s even more than the Super Bowl! Everywhere, gender is on the radar, with stereotypes and bias being called out regularly in mainstream media.

As of 2020, we’ve seen the increase in other similar movements including #MeToo and #TimesUp, alongside the significant rise in support for International Women’s Day across the world. With the thousands of female-focused days and initiatives taking place each year globally, it’s clear to see that gender is firmly on the agenda! 

We are moving towards a very exciting time in history where the world now “expects” gender balance – the world notices its absence and celebrates its presence. 2020, sees an important wave of collective individualism as we all strive to be #EachforEqual – because an equal world is an enabled world.

But there’s still a long way to go:

  • Women lead only 14 of 195 countries
  • Women are paid 23% less globally
  • Only 7% of Fortune 500 Companies are run by Women

At this rate, it will take more than 100 years to reach ‘gender equality’, with the gender pay gap being a key focus for the cause.

According to the Office of National Statistics 2019 report, the UK’s average gender pay gap is 17.3%, with men being paid on average this much more than their female counterparts. The gender pay gap measures the difference between the average earnings of all male and female employees, irrespective of their role or seniority.

The Martin James Network is committed to achieving an equal world – our workforce across the UK is 59% female and 41% male, with women making up 45% of the senior team. In fact, the senior Antser management team has a gender balance of 57% female – an incredible feat in a sector where only 17% of the workforce is female. In addition, Loubna Bourfa of Okra was awarded the female ‘CEO of the Year’ at the Science & Technology Awards – an award that is richly deserved.

Our commitment to gender equality doesn’t just stop in the UK – 59% of the senior leaders of our global teams are female. Combined our total Directorship team across the UK and globally is 51% female and 49% male achieving a gender balance across the world.

As a network, we are committed to reporting on the positive progress we are making in this field, and we aim to keep maintaining our gender equal workforce and leadership teams, which is something that we are very proud of. Whilst there is always more that can be done, we know that we are starting from the right base and one that most organisations can only aspire to.

Award Night in Cambridge

Award Night in Cambridge

A fantastic evening at the Science and Technology Awards hosted in Cambridge last night, bringing together and recognising the finest tech talent across #Europe if not the World.

A huge congratulations to OKRA Technologies CEO Loubna Bouarfa for winning the CEO of the year award. This is a significant award and a magnificent achievement as any one of the 6 nominees could have won.

Events like tonight allow us to reflect on the journey so far, they justify why we are fighting to transform life sciences with AI, they cement in our mind why we need to shout louder about genuine AI capabilities and cut through the noise of marketing.

From the very beginning Okra’s goal has been to empower people through this technology and today this has been recognised.

Holy Moly Macaroni Birmingham UK Reopening

Holy Moly Macaroni Birmingham UK Reopening

Birmingham’s Holy Moly Macaroni Restaurant is back with a new menu. 

The Birmingham based, Harlem inspired, Holy Moly Macaroni, has re-opened with a brand new look. The “home of soul food” is now offering breakfast and afternoon tea. 

Breakfast will be offered every day from 8.30am (9.30am on Sundays) until 12pm. You can choose from a light American breakfast of waffles, a full English breakfast or a spicy Harlem Special, which features hot and spicy chilli eggs or a BBQ pulled beef brioche.

To accompany the new look, Holy Moly have added a bar and a mixologist to boot. Now, you can also upgrade your “Harlem inspired” afternoon tea to include prosecco.

For the ultimate cherry on top, you don’t even have to leave Birmingham Grand Central for your happy hour, combine your Friday night pub crawl with Holy Moly and you can enjoy 2 cocktails for £11 between 5pm and 8pm. 

 Born in Harlem, made in Birmingham. 

Dr. Heather Modlin

Dr. Heather Modlin

On the 12th of September 2019, Heather Modlin, Provincial Director of Key Assets Newfoundland was a finalist for #StandUpForKidsCanada Lynn Factor National Award organised by the Children’s Aid Foundation of Canada.

Stephen Jacques, CEO of Key Assets, said, ‘Heather’s work across Newfoundland & Labrador has been noted as outstanding! She is a true agent of change & we are very, very proud of her!’

Heather has been committed to creating positive change in the lives of young people for 30 years, particularly striving for Family Based Care. Heather led the initiative to create a multi-agency committee who will investigate child abuse and develop a Child Advocacy Centre in Newfoundland.

The #StandUpForKidsCanada Lynn Factor National Award recognises those who have made an indelible mark on the child welfare landscape across Canada and Heather has proven her dedication to enact social change.

The ‘Noor’ Exhibition

The ‘Noor’ Exhibition

The Martin James Foundation are proud to introduce the photo exhibition titled ‘Noor’, meaning light in Arabic. The exhibition was done in conjunction with Kate Green, a Birmingham based photographer and a team of staff in the Hope Centre, Jordan.

The Hope Centre is a comprehensive rehabilitation centre for children established by The Martin James Foundation in partnership with Arabian Medical Relief. Kate and the team of 10 staff including psychosocial, physio and speech therapists worked with the children and introduced ways in which cameras and creativity could be used to support their therapy sessions.

The exhibition was first held in New Street Station and will continue to be showcased at different venues in Birmingham before moving to other UK destinations. Below are some of the pictures taken by the children, including the little girl with the camera who the exhibition is named after ‘Noor’.

If you would like to know more about the exhibition and the work that the Martin James Foundation does please contact us on