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Matt Nicholson: "The 9-to-5 mentality was a tool created by men that suited their lifestyles"

​International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for communities and organisations around the world to raise awareness about accelerating gender parity. Here at Phaidon International, we take this day to celebrate the contributions women make to our business and our daily lives. We sat with Matt, our Head of Sales Performance (Europe and Asia), to ask what International Women’s Day means to him.

Hi Matt, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m Matt and I’ve been with Phaidon International for nearly ten years now. I started out as a grad and now I’ve worked my way up to be the Head of Sales Performance for Europe and Asia.

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day means to me a great opportunity to celebrate women in our society that have achieved great things! I think men get a lot of airtime and this is a chance to see and celebrate what women do for us in our day-to-day lives.

The theme for this year’s IWD is #BalanceforBetter. What do you think companies can do to create better gender balance?

I think one big thing that companies can do to address gender balance is based on work-life balance that we provide for employees. The 9-to-5 mentality was a tool created by men that suited their lifestyles and it’s probably dated in terms of modern society. Usually, women are still the primary care-givers and the logistics of looking after young children while holding down a profession can be challenging. We should have greater elasticity in terms of how we operate to accommodate young mothers or staff who would like to go away and have a child – knowing their transition back will be as smooth as possible and that they will be supported and validated in their choices. In a similar vein, giving fathers the opportunity to spend more time with their children and out of the office will help improve gender balance.

Thanks Matt. Lastly, who would you have over for dinner, man, woman, dead or alive?

In the spirit of the day, I would pick two women for dinner – one’s alive and one’s no longer here. The first one, a probably obvious choice, is Michelle Obama. It would be interesting to see what she has to say as I believe she was the first woman in the White House in terms of modern politics in the US – she had a very active role and continues to be very politically active. The second one would perhaps be a more interesting choice, Boudicca. For those who don’t know Boudicca, in around 100BC, she led a 100,000 strong British army against the Roman Empire who were, at the time, one of the most technologically advanced cultures. It was a time where women were very oppressed in our society, and yet she led a largely male army to victory – I would love to know how she did that.