International Women’s Day falls on the 8th March each year. Its purpose is to celebrate the social, economic, political and cultural achievements of women around the globe. In recognition of International Women’s Day 2022, we’re talking to Louise Beard, our Business Manager about her career in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), an industry where historically, women are underrepresented.
Can you tell us a bit about Sated Design and your role within the company?
“Sated Design is a name used for marketing the specific expertise of Hillside Product Design Ltd, in designing adult pleasure products and toys. Hillside is a consultancy specialised in helping companies develop and engineer innovative and successful products. We can help you get your new or updated product to market by working with you on product conception, engineering, prototyping and production.
Good design can help solve problems with existing products and give old product ranges a new lease of life as well as help you create a brand new product.
I am the Business Manager and I have a very varied role within the company. I am primarily responsible for the accounting, payroll and administration side of the business and that means I do everything from payroll and invoicing to ordering materials for the making of prototypes, however I also take part in brainstorming, testing, prototype building and other areas of the business as and when needed. The ‘non design’ staff within the business can have an input into the design process with ideas and review throughout the concept to prototype stages”.
How important is it do you think to have female representation within product design and engineering?
“I think it is essential to have a female viewpoint into design and engineering. If being involved in this world has taught me anything over the last 30 years, it is that men and women often have different ideas as to how things work and how they should be used. These differences may not always be particularly big or noticeable but they do exist and a slightly different way of coming at things usually leads to a more rounded product that will suit its targeted audience”.
How can the STEM sector be made to be more attractive to women as a career?
“I think it needs to be pushed more in schools. Right down to primary school level, where girls can and should be told that engineering and scientific roles are as open to girls as they are to boys. Education has come a long way since I was at school and girls were not allowed to play rugby or football or do metalwork or woodwork. Girls were pushed into needlework and cookery and whilst those are admirable things, it didn’t give girls of my generation any idea that could do these things and be very good at them! Lets catch girls early and let them know that STEM subjects can be fun and can lead to amazing career choices!”
Do you do anything to promote STEM outside of business as well as inside it?
“I am, or have been, a member of a lot of local/national bodies such as Traders Associations and the FSB and I am always pushing for females in business, in general and in STEM businesses in particular, to stand up and be counted!!! I am a fervent believer that women have an equal ability, role, passion and competence within this world and we need to shout loud about it and bring in the next generations. We need to tell our young girls and women that they are capable, welcome and wanted in what has been seen in the past as more male dominated spheres of work”.
What are your hopes and dream for the future?
“I would like to see far more women realising that they have got what it takes to succeed in STEM, to succeed in the workplace and to succeed in the traditionally male dominated areas of work and to rise within their chosen fields.
Things have improved hugely in the 30 years I have been business but we still have a way to go – and we women are the people to take it there!”
You can follow Louise on LinkedIn