In celebration of International Women's Day, we're spotlighting some inspiring women who also just happen to be Mums of some of our fantastic Debate Mate Virtual students! Next up, we have a blogpost written by Samantha Gould...
My name is Samantha Gould and I head up the PR and Campaigns for NOW: Pensions. We are one of the leading workplace pension providers in the UK with almost 2 million members.
I have been working with Debate Mate since 2020, running a mentoring scheme for the Primary and Secondary Urban Debate Leagues. I am a HUGE fan, admirer and supporter of Debate Mate and the good that they do for the thousands of students through their debating programme. My 5-year old daughter is taking part in the virtual programme and it is fantastic to watch her confidence grow.
I have always worked in pensions, since I graduated from university in 2008 where I studied marketing and psychology. The “big” plan was to pursue a career within the creative advertising space, but like many others, I found my way into pensions by happy accident. I am a self-confessed pensions geek and have been lucky to work in various organisations across the entire pensions eco-system. My specialisms have always included marketing and PR but I recently qualified as a financial adviser having passed my financial advice diploma in 2022. I am very passionate about helping people, women in particular, on their pension-saving journeys and helping to normalise money conversations to ensure better financial wellbeing.
Women have to deal with many issues and struggles when it comes to working today. For example, we have the gender pay gap (which means that we are paid less than our male counterparts) but also we tend to take on the lion’s share of caring responsibilities in a household. As a consequence, there are approximately 54,000 women who leave the workforce every year in order to care for children and elderly relatives according to Charity group Pregnant Then Screwed. Women also make up 75% of part-time workers in order to work around caring responsibilities which perpetuates the cycle of lower pay and less frequent career opportunities for progression. This is demonstrable through fewer females in senior positions and on FTSE Boards.
I am very passionate about women’s equality and I spend a lot of my time researching and looking at ways to address financial inequality in the UK. Since 2019, I have authored 5 reports looking into the root causes and consequences of pension inequality in the UK, which you can find out more about by clicking here.Every year, two million women in the UK are retiring into pensioner poverty. The difference in pension savings between men and women is huge, a staggering £147,000. We call this the “gender pensions gap.” This is a problem that’s been hiding in plain sight and has huge significance for women’s later life equality.
At NOW: Pensions, we are lobbying the government to make pension policy changes which will help get another 3 million women in the UK to save for their retirement.
I am very lucky to have worked with some amazing female role models throughout my career, some of whom I still work and collaborate with. One of these is Margaret McCabe, the CEO and Founder of Debate Mate who is a truly fierce and inspirational force of nature. I absolutely love working with Margaret and the entire Debate Mate team and of course the students – our future leaders!
Critical thinking and confidence are two of the key ingredients when it comes to staking your place at the table. I strongly believe that you should bring your authentic self to work and be unapologetic about being “you”. This is so important in an ever-changing and competitive world and your uniqueness should be seen as your superpower, there is only one “you”.
Don’t ask for permission to be at the table
Be your true authentic self
If you can dream it, you can achieve it (Walt Disney quote)