IN CONVERSATION WITH LAURA HAYNES

Co-Chair of UN Women UK

Can you start by telling us a little bit about your background?

A native New Yorker, I was educated in the US, Canada and the UK. I’ve lived and worked in Europe, North America and North Africa, and have made the UK my home. I am the Chairman of Appetite, founded some 25 years ago to create a different kind of consulting firm. A firm that helps organisations define their true purpose and find their unique place in the world. I am lucky to work with incredible, talented people - clients, partners, strategists, creative thinkers and doers who work with others to create real and meaningful change.

I am also co-Chair of UN Women National Committee UK, a Director of FutureLondon Enterprises, a member of the Parliamentary Design Commission, a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts and the Marketing Society.

I am married to a wonderful, patient man (he would have to be) and have two amazing daughters.

How did you first get involved with UN Women UK?

I was initially asked to assist in some strategic planning work when UN Women was first getting started in the UK. One thing led to another, as it so often does, and I was asked if I would become a Trustee. Of course they lied when they told me that it would only take a few hours each month, but once involved I realised how great this organisation is and could be and how much I wanted to be part of its development. I became co-Chair in September 2015.

Can you explain in your own words what the UN Women UK committee does?

We are the representative of UN Women in the UK and we support the mission for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls around the world through advocacy, partnership and fundraising. So that's everything from the pay gap, training and education to the positive socio-econcomic impact when women are empowered to work. We are focusing on influencing and engaging a number of key partners - the government and parliamentarians, corporate partners and the public - to gain support for our global, grass-roots programs.

What do you see as the most important initiative UN Women UK is working on at the moment?

It is difficult to identify a single initiative as our work is varied and the impact so great. Here in the UK, we focus on creating a deeper understanding of the needs and benefits of gender equality in business, in communities and in society as a whole. We raise funds for key UN Women programs through the fund for economic empowerment and equality which invests in projects focused on micro-financing, training and education as well as on small business support for women. We also support the fund to end violence against women, including the safer cities initiative. Of course we are strongly involved in the HeforShe campaign which engages men and boys as well as women and girls in gender equality. Here we work with companies and individuals to include them in commitments to change and action helping people to understand that they are or could be real change makers.

What is the biggest challenge of the work you do?

Awareness is growing but change is slow. We need to maintain momentum. We have made great progress but we are not there yet. We are not even near there yet. We need to grow our supporters across all walks of life because our aim is to make a lasting difference. And, old habits die hard, unconscious bias and social norms mean that there is still so much to do.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Working with amazing people and seeing the impact of our work.

What keeps you inspired?

Knowing that there is still along way to go, more work to be done and challenges to overcome. This keeps me inspired and keeps me going. My fear is that people will think ‘Okay, we've ticked that box, it's done, and in reality it's a long way from being done. Anyone who works in the area of change knows that it is an on going process, but one worth the ride”.

What can we do to get more involved or support UN Women UK or the women’s rights movement in general?

Donate to UN Women UK via our Just Giving page or text to donate using the code IWDA16 (£20) to 70070.

And if you'd like to find out more, help us to raise funds, share your stories with us or let us know how you might want to get involved please email info@unwomenuk.org.

Or simply sign up to our mailing list by clicking here to become part of our tribe - we've got so much going on at the moment, you're not going to want to miss out!

https://www.justgiving.com/unwomenuk

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE
+
READ

Kaya on Her Non-Negotiables, Go-To Snacks & How to Stay Motivated

Instructor Spotlight
+
READ

Celebrating Our Psycle Mums

By Saphia
+
READ

Get Inspired by...Tom Daley

+
READ

Get Inspired by... Calgary Avansino

By Saphia Haddouche
+
READ

Get Inspired By... Plenish

We Talk To Kara Rosen, Founder Of Plenish
+
READ

Mindful Living & Why All Men Should Do Yoga

Get Inspired By Michael James Wong