Sarah Whittle - Head Of Strategy Management

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Sarah is Head of Strategy Management for Knauf Insulation Northern Europe based in the UK. 

Knauf Insulation has some great role models for women at all levels of the business and plenty of opportunities for them to develop and flourish.
Sarah Whittle

What bias have you seen or experienced in your working career?

I have been in manufacturing all my working life, which as we know, is a male dominated industry. Early in my career I often saw women being overlooked for roles that were previously held by men, especially senior roles, because “that’s how it’s always been”. Unfortunately, bias does exist. However, I believe a lot of the time, it isn’t intentional and can be down to an individual’s unconscious bias or even a workplace culture that can enable bias if it is not challenged.

How did you handle bias when it happened to you?

In all honesty, I don’t think I have experienced bias towards me in the workplace, or maybe I just didn’t recognise it as that at the time, which I think is symptomatic of a wider issue. Bias can be hard to define and sometimes can be difficult to identify if you are being disadvantaged for a particular reason.

What have you — or others — done to support your career?

I’ve had some great role models in my personal life and career, both men and women, who have always wanted me to be the best I can be. I have had some wonderful mentors who I learned a lot from, who believed in me as a person and supported me to take every opportunity when it came up, even if it was something I questioned or doubted I could do.

What advice would you give to a female colleague joining Knauf Insulation today?

Knauf Insulation is a supportive environment regardless of gender in my opinion. However, specific to females, I do believe Knauf Insulation has some great role models at all levels of the business and plenty of opportunities for women to develop and flourish. I also love that Knauf Insulation has a culture where women can feel equal and that it is a safe environment to be strong, open and honest.

What needs to be done to support women and tackle bias in the workplace?

Education and awareness are the foundation of ensuring everyone in the workplace understands what bias really is. This can help to increase self-awareness and potential situations where bias could be a factor. To support women in the workplace more generally, I believe working towards having a strong representation of women in all areas of the company can support more diverse views and a more balanced approach to the workplace.


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