Running free from marital status titles

Keep moving and improving… (Happy 2023!)

We’ve started another year, and what a year we’ve been through since January 2022!

As an avid runner, with my first marathon over a year behind me now, I personally find myself in the strange position of knowing that it’s impossible to always be moving faster, and going further. 

It’s a lovely idea, but physically impossible – (certainly regarding running anyway!)

Starting 2023, I’m much happier thinking about other ways to keep improving…with my running goals and my life’s work – the GoTitleFree™ campaign. 

Goals in life and in work…

Where running is concerned, my idea of getting better might now be running faster on one segment, or feeling fulfilled by really noticing a familiar route change with the seasons and knowing that my speed doesn’t matter as much. 

It’s also about enjoying more runs with the people I love – something which I couldn’t do when I started running in 2020 as we entered lockdown and a long period of loneliness. 

With GoTitleFree, I look forward to finding and sharing new angles to convince organisations that titles have no place in a world demanding commitment to inclusion and equality. 

I want to convince more people to challenge businesses alongside me, and to get to the end of this year with at least ten more businesses who have removed ‘Miss’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Ms’, ‘Mr’ and ‘Mx’ from their data capture systems, so that women, non binary people and anyone who feels misrepresented by titles can enjoy being their authentic selves. 

Ten organisations may not seem like a lot, but we must trust that there are businesses who are making these brilliant changes without telling us, and possibly without realising the huge positive impact they are making. 

We will continue to gather survey responses and case studies, and by the end of this year, the key success stories will be collated and we look forward to congratulating the organisations who’ve demonstrated exemplary levels of commitment and improvement. 

Where we’ve come from, and where we’re going…

If the achievements of the last year are anything to go by, then we’re very excited indeed by the prospect of the next!

I’m so pleased to have hosted the first GoTitleFree events in 2022 welcoming Superdrug, and speaking about other amazing businesses who’ve gone title free – The Range, Timpson, Cadbury World, John Lewis, Rightmove, Hello Fresh, Viking and Denplan. 

We covered what needed to be done and why it was so important. We highlighted some of the 40 standards we uphold in the Title Free Benchmark, and how close the top scoring employers are (as an average) to reaching the maximum score of 70 points. 

We gave a sneak preview of some of the questions, and also explained why some of the questions aren’t scored at all. 

(We accept that sometimes just ‘knowing the answer’ deserves a score in itself, because it shows that the organisation is measuring its current status, and therefore putting themselves in the best possible position to improve and act upon the situation).

So much of the work and themes we’ve been focusing on for the last four years were brought to life in the fantastic events in 2022, and we look forward to more in the future as the campaign continues to grow. 

A bigger group of committed employers means a stronger combined and amplified voice for positive change, and I’m delighted that the list of signatories on our petition which also launched last year is getting longer, and that employers are finding our toolkits useful. 

We’ve worked with CEOs, HR Leaders, L&D professionals, DE&I Leads, Employee Network Chairs, Lecturers, Tech geniuses, Quakers, runners, mothers and people we will now always call ‘friends’ because of their continued support of GoTitleFree. 

There’s something in the air…

We should all be proud, because we are doing this in an ever-changing world.  

Living in times following Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, the pandemic, and many other diversity and inclusion related news, it should be unsurprising that DE&I and inclusiveness is rising on the agenda of many organisations.

Employers are reviewing brands, policies, strategies, training programmes, recruitment partners and data capture systems in response to the increase in demand and expectation from their own employees and the people they exist to serve. 

The ONS census data from 2021 is now slowly being released and we’re seeing a much more diverse population represented in it in every way.  

2.5 million households in England and Wales now consist of members identifying with two or more different ethnic groups, an increase from 8.7% (2.0 million) in the previous census. 

As I write, ONS has just released statistics on gender identity from the 2021 census, and 262,000 people (0.5%) in England and Wales do not use the gender identity they were assigned at birth, stating that they are trans, non-binary or ‘other’. 

So what makes us ‘us’, is not always what society expects, and our uniqueness needs to be accepted, respected, and celebrated at the same time as remembering that our human-ness is what brings us together. 

Uniqueness… and our theme for 2023…

If you are a runner or cyclist, or regularly use the Strava app for your fitness activity of choice, you will have seen the lovely end of year round-up telling you that ‘nobody did it exactly like you’.

This is also something I like to remember about GoTitleFree. – There is nothing similar. 

We are striving for something completely unique which is another thing to be extremely proud of as we learn from our networks and move forward into our fifth year of existence. 

I think as 2023 is commencing, and we see the busy diaries of Q1 before us, we know it will be more important than ever to take a breath and make sure that the work we do on this very personal campaign will be impactful, and from the heart. And so it feels only right that my theme for 2023 in all parts of life and work will be “Keep Moving and Improving”.

The improvement doesn’t need to be further and faster than before, as long as it’s in the right direction and the right spirit. 

Stella Sutcliffe

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *