To mark International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the women in our business and are exploring the role of women in horticulture today.
International Women’s Day is celebrated on 8th March every year to commemorate the movement for women's rights. This year’s theme is #PressForProgress, which aims to motivate and unite communities to think, act, be gender inclusive and progress gender parity.
At Johnsons of Whixley, we are proud of our 100-strong workforce made up of three generations of the Richardson family, many colleagues with 30 years’ service and employees of different nationalities, who all combine decades of experience in horticulture. We offer equal opportunities to all of our members of staff and really value each and every one of our employees.
Some of our female colleagues have shared their thoughts on the role of women in horticulture today, how it’s changed and what the future might hold.
Vicky Newell has worked at Johnsons of Whixley for 11 years and is responsible for key customer accounts in the North East, North West and Scotland.
As part of her role as Amenity Sales Area Manager, Vicky provides day-to-day account management, as well as overseeing incoming orders and providing estimates for new projects.
Prior to joining Johnsons, Vicky completed Level 1 and 2 RHS qualifications in Horticulture, which has contributed to her understanding of plants and the industry as a whole.
Outside of work, Vicky is the deputy chair for Jubilee Allotments in Knaresborough and also creates and distributes their monthly newsletter.
Vicky said: “I have seen more women working within the office environment since I started working at Johnsons of Whixley 11 years ago. However, I think the industry is missing a trick by not having more women directors or managers. We have different opinions, but surely a variety of ideas is how we will compete in the challenging times the industry is seeing at the moment.
“I enjoy working in the horticulture industry because I find the products interesting and I like to see how they change through the seasons. I enjoy visiting our plants when they have been installed to see how they can improve the environment and people’s lives. It makes you realise that this is quite a nice industry to be part of.”
Claire Horner has worked at Johnsons of Whixley for 19 years. In here current role as Wholesale Plant Centre Sales and Operations Supervisor, she ensures there is a range of plants available to satisfy customers’ requirements all year round.
Claire joined Johnsons of Whixley as a nursery worker, where she was based at our Ryther site for the majority of the year and spent the winters at our Newlands site. She then moved across to the retail department as a lifter for a short while, before moving to stock. Claire had the role of Stock Auditor for five years, before being promoted to her current role as Wholesale Plant Centre Sales and Operations Supervisor.
Claire said: “I have not encountered any negative stereotypes during my time at Johnsons of Whixley. When I joined at the Ryther site, I was the only woman there working alongside eight men and I was never given a task based on my gender, only on my ability.
“The trend I have noticed the most for women in horticulture is the increase in women in prominent roles. There are now more women who run their own nursery, who have their own business, and there are more women designers now, many of whom are doing this to an award-winning standard.”
Claire added: “The horticultural industry has lots to offer women. Whether they want to nurture plants, show their artistic flare, educate others or simply work with nature and feel the soil under their fingernails.
“I think young women need to be made aware of the potential career opportunities available to them - that you can be a successful woman, run a business and have great opportunities to flourish. I also think the horticulture industry needs to raise its profile so it is not just seen as a hobby for women who like gardening – it should be seen as a positive career choice.”
Sandra Grayson has worked at Johnsons of Whixley for 17 years and currently works as a Payroll and Tax Administrator. She said: “The horticultural industry is still male dominated but there are more women coming into the industry in different sectors such as business, science, technology and engineering.
“I would like to see more women in senior management roles in the industry and I think in the future more key positions will be taken up by women.”
Chris Davis, HR Coordinator and Admin Manager, has worked at Johnsons of Whixley for 18 years. She said: “I think the industry is changing slowly. It is still male dominated but there are now more female faces on TV gardening programs.”
Posted 8th Mar 11:29am
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