International Women’s Day

About International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a global day celebrated annually on the 8th March. It’s purpose is to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women and drive the call to action for accelerating gender parity. This years’s IWD 2023 campaign theme is #EmbraceEquity.


Breaking Down Barriers

For this year’s International Women’s Day, we wanted to celebrate all women in the Partnership who are inspiringly breaking down societal barriers to continue developing their careers and thriving in job roles and industries where gender diversity is in particular need of attention.

In this latest blog, hear from some of our Partners and learn about their own experiences, how they balance their careers with life outside of work, how they are challenging the status quo and how they’re inspiring other women to do the same.



Sainika Bharj – Partner, Operations Development Manager and Co-Lead of our Gender Equality Network (GEN)

“I love how I’m able to balance my day job with areas of the Partnership that really interest me. Alongside my Data Development role, I’m also a Gender Equality Network Co-Lead which is 1 of 8 Partnership Networks. The aim of our networks is to support Partners and influence the D&I strategy for the entire business. The GEN network specifically ensures we’re championing equal opportunities regardless of gender for all Partners. I’m also the Supply Chain D&I Lead, this role supports the Supply Chain Leadership team in accelerating the focus areas of D&I & Wellbeing alongside establishing a longer term strategy as this is fundamentally a key area for our Directorate, let alone the Partnership.

The data industry as a whole is beginning to open up more for women and I’m glad to say this is true of data opportunities across the Partnership. As illustrative from my experience, testing the waters in a data role sparked my interest and that was 2-years ago, so I’d highly recommend any women to do the same if this area is of interest!”



Emma Foster-Smith – Partner & LGV Driver

“I joined the Partnership as a driver 8-years ago and I have always felt supported in my role. I have had opportunities to train new drivers as well as taking other Partners out for a day to experience life as a driver. I have also enjoyed spending time on my own personal development with material supplied by the Partnership. One of my biggest achievements to date has been winning LGV driver of the year in 2017 through ‘Talent in Logistics’ after being nominated by a colleague in the transport team.

More recently, I’ve been supported through two pregnancies where I continued to drive with regular check-ins and limited runs to reduce my physical workload. When I was ready to stop driving I was given a role in the office supporting the operations until I started my maternity leave. Now that I am back at work I am still supported with earlier start times to give me a better chance of finishing in time to pick my children up from nursery (so long as the roads are running smoothly which is usually the only unpredictable factor in my work!)

Whilst I am on the road I like to support local communities by doing litter picks in the lay-bys I take my breaks in. I enjoy taking the the Partnership’s Purpose; ‘Working in Partnership for a Happier World’ out on the road with me.

I have never felt held back by my gender or age and I have always been encouraged to gain new skills. I am now a forum representative for drivers at Magna Park and I am excited to see where my journey within the Partnership will take me next.”



Katrina Hudson – Partner & Supply Chain Analyst

“I’ve worked in the Partnership for 4-years in several areas across Merchandising and Online Trade before starting in my current role as a Supply Chain Analyst in the Planning & Development team.

Supply Chain is an exciting part of the business and impacts many areas making it important to triangulate and derive insight from multiple data sources. I enjoy using data to tell stories and I’m happy to be in a role that allows me to be both analytical and creative. With the support of my managers and other Partners, I’ve enhanced my knowledge of Partnership data, learned to use new systems, and strengthened my visualisation skills.

I’ve enjoyed working in a variety of data-centric roles in the Partnership and I hope more women interested in data seek these opportunities too!”



Hanh Tat – Partner & IT Delivery Lead

“When I joined the Partnership on the IT Graduate scheme in 1997, I never envisaged still being here some 26-years later. As my Partnership career progressed though, I found myself on a work journey that was simultaneously varied, challenging, supportive and nurturing, which meant that, as the years rolled on, I never felt like I was just stuck in the same place.

I’ve been immensely fortunate to have worked with so many wonderful colleagues, many of whom I consider as friends, and on numerous memorable and rewarding projects.

Then, as a wonderful bonus last summer, having been in the Partnership for 25-years, I was rewarded with the gift of long-leave (6-months paid leave). No other company that I know of offers such a generous benefit. I feel equally proud to have reached that milestone and grateful to the Partnership for providing an environment where I wanted to stay for that duration.

I’m now back from my long-leave feeling so blessed to have been able to have that time off, to spend quality time with my children and to take a much needed breather from the stresses of being a working single mother. I think the surprising number of people who reach long-leave is testament to the Partnership as an employer of distinction and I’m pretty sure that had I started my career at any other company as a twinkle-eyed graduate all those years ago, I wouldn’t have stayed as long as I’ve been here.”



Alannah Brooks – Partner and HGV Driver

“I joined the Partnership in November 2021 as a Dot Com driver (smaller B-category vehicles) in our Coulsdon Customer Fulfilment Centre. I loved the job but when I saw the HGV lorries delivering to the depot, I knew that I wanted to progress my career as a driver.

I should probably start by telling you how nervous I was being a young woman going into a predominantly male profession. I thought it would be difficult. However, my nerves were quickly settled when I met a Partner named Paul. He was so kind, showed me where to go and wished me the best of luck for my interview. And he’s not been the only one to look out for me here; there are so many that have helped me along the way.

From the very first day I was being pushed to be the best driver I could be. I am so thankful for the opportunities that have been provided and I have really enjoyed my time with Waitrose and my journey through the Academy. I can’t wait to see where my career with Waitrose will lead to!”



Carrie-Ann Fuller – Partner & Quality Coach

I work as a quality coach in the Knowledge, Recruitment, Quality and Training team in Customer Care. I work part-time which enables me and my husband to work around caring responsibilities for our three children and my mother-in-law. We’re both pretty hands-on when it comes to the kids activities and it’s resulted in me coaching an all-girl basketball team called Southside Dream. The girls range from ages 6-8years old, and have just been promoted to the premier league where they are the only all-girl team in the year 3-4 league. For international Women’s Day this year, we’ll be inviting the girls to bring a friend, along to our training session so we can introduce more girls to the sport.



Tanya Rayment – Transport First Line Manager

Almost 7 years ago I started driving LGV1 vehicles on the Night Shift for Waitrose Bracknell, they trained me in everything, firstly as an inexperienced driver who had only just passed their test they gave me 6 weeks training with a driver buddy then about 6 weeks on a restricted list going to the easier branches, then they trained me in all the different trailer types like double deckers, 81 trailers etc, then shunting and then the office cover. When a job came up to work full time in the office I applied and got it.

After about 2.5 years in the office as an operator on the PM Shift a First Line Manager came up and I applied and got the job. I’m so grateful for the Partnership for all the training I’ve received and all the benefits we get, in my opinion it’s a great company to work for, and the best job/jobs I have had.


An inclusive culture for all

Everyone has a part to play in helping forge gender equality and in the Partnership we truly embrace individuals’ contributions, regardless of their age, genderrace, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, social background, religion or belief. Having a diverse and inclusive culture throughout the business is vital for our future success and that’s why it is at the heart of our ultimate purpose; ‘Working in Partnership for a Happier World’.

Continue browsing through our careers website to discover what it means to be a Partner and how you can join us.

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