International Women’s Day: Elaine Clarke OBE

As part of International Women’s Day we were fortunate enough to catch up with Elaine Clarke MBE, founder of Baa Bars Ltd and one of Liverpools influential women in business.

Eliane, why do you think it is important to celebrate International Women’s Day?

For me International Women’s Day is about challenging inequality and reminding ourselves of the struggles faced by women and girls around the world. There’s still so much work to do.

Women continue to face discrimination, violence, and oppression simply because of their gender, and International Women’s Day is a reminder that these issues are not just local.

Through International Women’s Day, women can come together and share their experiences, challenges and raise awareness about the issues that are impacting them. It’s an opportunity to address gender inequality and empower women around the world.

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman?

I’m sure that I’ve had a different experience as a female leader. I’ve approached my work in my own way.

I’m sure there have been barriers that existed because I’m a woman, but I’ve got to say, I’ve never paid much attention to them, probably because I’ve been too busy working hard to have the time.

What is the most important piece of advice you have been given?

To always do the right thing and play by the book. This advice came from my mum and has served me well. I believe the reason I’ve been able to stand the test of time in business is because I’ve always been fair but firm, paid the bills and never cut corners. I’ve always trusted this approach to serve me well, and it has.

How can we encourage more women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles in their career?

I think one of the best ways to encourage women is to offer them practical support. It can be extremely difficult for women to pursue entrepreneurship or senior leadership roles especially when they have children.

I was fortunate to have a great mum who supported me with childcare when my son was young, there is no way I could have carried on operating as I did without that help. But it shouldn’t be the responsibility of family members to support with childcare, there should be proper support in place.

This is a big barrier that needs to be addressed, we need to create equity to enable women with children to work without such a financial burden.

Has there been a particular woman that has inspired you in your career?

My Aunty Rita was a great inspiration to me. She ran Cafe Tabac from the 1970’s and I worked for her since I was 14. It was great to watch how she operated; she was a force to be reckoned with. She held her own, with everyone she met and worked hard to create a space that was inclusive.

Tabac was the place for artists, actors, writers, and locals. A melting pot of creativity and Liverpool culture. I’ve always been committed to creating places that celebrate culture and diversity as a result.

Why do you think diversity in the workplace is so important?

Diversity in the workplace is about making sure that people from different backgrounds, with different experiences and perspectives, feel supported in work, it’s about giving opportunities for people to progress.

Having a diverse workforce is also about creativity and innovation, as people from different backgrounds bring new ideas and ways of thinking to the table. For us this has resulted in different events and nights being created and making changes to make things better to deliver the best experience for our customers.

Thanks for chatting with us Elaine!