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2018 – Empowering women in the workplace

It’s such a popular subject isn’t it?!

The IT Girls are founded on the fabulousness of women and throughout our history we have supported one another in promoting the idea that women can be successful, strong AND beautiful. As an all female owned, managed and staffed company since 2004, we have always felt part of a movement which endeavours to empower and celebrate women.

Since I was a little girl I had no plan B. Plan A was to be a professional dancer and thanks to my Mum and to my fabulous dance teacher Miss Pauline Ash, and a huge amount of hard work, I have achieved my dreams. I have danced on TV shows such as TOTPs & Stars In Their Eyes, with legends such as Victoria Wood! I’ve appeared on music videos for Madonna and was a part of Apple Mac’s first iPod lunch campaign featuring a host of globally renowned professional dancers. There were also a huge number of International trade shows for hair giants such as Wella and L’Oréal and I’ve even strutted my stuff down the main catwalk at the Clothes Show Live at the NEC. Looking back, it’s been a wonderful and dizzying journey full of triumphs peppered with set backs and all achieved through hard work, determination and resilience.

Over a decade ago, I reached a stage in my career where I thought …. wait! I know some amazing ladies (my fabulous friends) and I have an idea for an act whereby we can collaborate doing what we love, more often! In the most organic way imaginable, I formed The IT Girls with the talented female friends that surrounded me.

Now as an independent Choreographer and the Creative Director of ‘The IT Girls’, I feel incredibly lucky that I have been given a fair professional path to my success. My support network of female friends and colleagues has been instrumental to my success and together we’ve climbed the ‘ladder’ and become a world-class entertainment act as a result.

So, having felt the support of both female, and male, friends and professionals, it saddens me to hear stories of women who seek to undermine other women professionals who do not fit their ideal of what a woman is. I’m also constantly frustrated when I hear of the struggle women have to succeed; most notably in fields such as high-tech industry and in boardrooms across the globe, where traditionally they have been unrepresented. Many women still battle to be acknowledged for their talents and achievements and have to deal with the idea that women can’t get ahead because of their gender. It still astounds and puzzles me whenever I hear of or read about the ‘glass ceiling’ preventing women from achieving their goals…

“SMACK!!!””… that’s the sound of my jaw hitting the ground BTW. #outrageous.

In the same vein, I have been saddened by current events and revelations in La La land about the indecencies that women have experienced with regards to sexual harassment.

I think it is important for me to say at this point, I have been lucky enough to never have been harassed by a man in the work place but I know this isn’t the case for many women. And that’s why it’s vitally important we women stand together, UNITED, regardless of whether or not we have suffered the indecencies of sexual harassment in or out of our jobs. Just recently, we’ve seen Hollywood’s finest female stars wearing all black at this year’s Golden Globes to protest against sexual harassment. Yes, ladies!!!

The huge global movement, which has seen major Hollywood stars and others closer to home, speak out for the first time about sexual harassment is opening the pathway for dialogue and while it is distressing, and puzzling in this day of gender equality to hear of women being subjected to this form of abuse, it is, I believe, nonetheless very positive for women that the truth is out there. Hopefully it will lead to greater understanding and subsequently to change.

The It happened to #MeToo social media hashtag has been very popular and effective at getting the ‘zero tolerance to sexual harassment in the work place’ message out there and to create awareness about the issues faced by many women in the workplace. I reiterate the direct message that needs to be heard loud and clear to everyone around the world ….in the words of Aretha Franklin, we females need and deserve ‘RESPECT’

The IT Girls like to think we are at ‘the top of our game’ as we travel the world spreading our special brand of ‘fabulousness’ to all who wish to see it. But please take note, we have not reached our current level of excellence in the Events Industry, nor created a reputation for outstanding professionalism, simply by knowing how to reapply our lipstick correctly or style our hair in the most fetching way. Our particular brand of magic takes a great deal of hard work and years of training, facts so many people never consider when they think of the typical ‘Showgirl’.

The age-old cliché of a showgirl arriving 10 minutes before the performance and sipping champagne while sitting backstage, then effortlessly slipping into her costume and powdering her perfect button nose couldn’t be further from the truth. While many people still have this image in their heads of what female dancers do to prepare for a performance, the truth is that, arriving at the point where you are employed as a world-class ‘showgirl’ takes years of dedicated training and exercise .Why do we not shout the ‘real story’ from the roof tops? Quite simply because what you see on stage is pure magic and like any good magician a showgirl will never reveal the reality behind the illusion.

Unlike Mary Berry, who will show you all her ingredients and the method plus the finished masterpiece (and we thank you Mary; we salute you!), we showgirls keep the recipe to our success a secret, were we to reveal all, we would surely deprive all who see us of the wonder and magic that is any great showgirl performance. We simply provide you with the finished product and keep all the ingredients and the method hidden so as to captivate you and draw you into the magic… you are free then to enjoy the moment and go wherever the magic will take you…

This is why, in an age of virtual reality and SFX, dancers, especially in the female form, continue to hold such mystery and be so desired and admired by men and women alike. The magic simply wouldn’t happen if you knew the hours of sweat and backbreaking hard work that are required to make a great performance happen.

Nowadays though, thanks to TV programmes like Strictly Come Dancing, the general public are getting a glimpse of the tough work that is involved in creating a perfect performance, without the magic being ruined for the spectator. The intense ‘behind the scenes clips’ of rehearsals that are shown weekly during the show are great to allow an understanding of the dance/performance structure. But as revealing as they are, they only hint at the real grit and determination that go into making any performance magical.

The list is endless as to what we women can turn our hand to these days. and with the amount of hours we IT Girls dedicate to our craft, we hope you see the sparkle for what it is and that, armed with a greater understanding of what it takes to make it look so ‘easy’, our magic will only be magnified in your eyes and you will harbour a newfound respect for us ladies in fishnets and sequins. As we enter this exciting new year let us women champion one another, UNITED, into a better phase in history for both sexes!

Here’s to hearing about those little girls’ plan A dreams becoming a reality with no man or women for that matter standing in their way. Happy New Year to all you lovely ladies young and old! And to everyone around the world who supports and respects wonderful women (we hope that’s everyone!)

Sometimes you just need to read something that has ‘sparkle’ written all over IT. Together with Fran & Kayleigh it’s my job to deliver twinkly tales of parties, events & amazing adventures to you all!
Love Tracy xxx

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