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International Women’s Day with Amanda Lawson

As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important to recognise the remarkable achievements and resilience of women in various fields, including those traditionally dominated by men. 


Today, we shine a spotlight on Amanda Lawson, our ISO 14001 Sector Manager, who tells us about the obstacles she has conquered in her profession.

In her current role, Amanda is a part of the Sector Manager team responsible for the technical aspects of the day-to-day delivery of the standards, and the management of the UKAS accreditation.

Her journey hasn’t been without challenges, particularly as a woman in male-dominated sectors like construction and occupational health and safety. Reflecting on her experiences, she shares insights into her journey, the obstacles she faced, and how she overcame them.

Have you faced any barriers in your career due to being a woman? If so, how did you overcome them?

“I have 20 years’ experience in the construction sector and as an OHS&E professional, both male dominated areas. I also worked for a family business, where this was meant for a father and his son.  When I first started out in the profession and in the construction industry, they were very much male dominated areas. Whilst they still are to this day, I have managed to overcome many of the challenges faced.”

For Amanda, the barriers were not just professional but personal, as she navigated through feelings of incompetence, mistreatment, and lack of support. In male-dominated environments, she often felt sidelined or dismissed, facing stereotypes and biases. However, her determination to succeed fuelled her resilience. “My challenge was to remove barriers and resistance, and to work with the team. I wanted them to realise I was standing with them and working with them and not the enemy.”

She tackled these challenges head-on, implementing strategies like toolbox talks, training sessions, and suggestion schemes to foster a culture of respect and inclusion. Through her consistent efforts and unwavering resolve, she earned the respect of her colleagues and demonstrated that gender should never limit one’s potential.

In light of this, what advice would you give to women aspiring to enter your field or pursue a career in Auditing?

Drawing from her experiences, Amanda offers invaluable advice for women aspiring to enter the auditing field. She emphasises the importance of knowledge, confidence, and respectful communication, “Know your stuff. But remember you don’t know everything – no one does. Have your opinion, and deliver it in a respectful way and remember, everyone is entitled to their opinion.

I encourage women to be assertive yet gracious, listening to others while standing firm in their expertise.”

In your opinion, what steps can organisations take to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for women to thrive in their careers?

To achieve this vision, Amanda emphasises the importance of organisational support and investment in learning and development. She calls for inclusive practices that empower women to take leadership roles and contribute meaningfully to their departments.

“Allow for women to take a lead in what they do in their role. Appreciate everyone within a company has a part to play – one team ethos. In my opinion, ISOQAR embraces an inclusive atmosphere and encourages everyone to reach to their full potential.”

Best bit of career advice?

Amanda shares the best career advice she’s received: “You have the keys for your success.” Hard work, integrity, and a relentless pursuit of excellence are the cornerstones of her journey.

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