THERE was a fear when launching the Scottish Women in Business Awards that no-one would self-nominate.

As women traditionally aren’t very good at shouting about their strengths or successes, organisers feared they would struggle to attract nominations.

“But that is what the awards are all about”, explains Zaynab Al Nasser, president of Scottish Women in Business (SWIB).

“The world of business has been dominated by men for such a long time.

“In theory, there is equal opportunity, equal treatment and equal pay, but we all know that in reality there is still gaps there.

“They might not be intentional but, in my view, they come about because institutional unfairness exists and there’s only so much you can do when you’ve got men and women in the room.

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“I think it’s important to have spaces where women can talk about these things and create support networks in a world where they don’t get that kind of support in their workplace or wider industry.”

She adds: “That’s another reason why we did the awards the way that we did where people have to self-nominate - women traditionally aren’t very good at shouting about how good they are and that’s one of things where the inequality stems from. We don’t put ourselves forward as quickly as men.

“I seen a statistic that if you have a list of job requirements, men will apply when they hit 40 or 50 per cent, whereas women it’ll be closer to 80 or 90 per cent. That was kind of the focus of this year’s awards - to make women think that they are good at something and that they should be recognised for it.”

Scottish Women in Business has been running for 27 years, and in that time has connected hundreds of working women in and around Glasgow.

Women working across a variety of different sectors come together every month to network, share ideas and create connections.

Zaynab explains: “We kind of try to reach out to all sectors. It sort of depends on how the economy is doing with the kind of businesses you get more of.

“It’s a lot of business owners but we’ve also got bigger corporates who are partners and owners of bigger organisations. We’ve got a few charity members, people who are business people involved in charities or on the board. It’s quite a variety. We run regular events including monthly networking events, coffee mornings and training events where we focus on a particular skill and get an expert to come in.

“Sometimes we get inspirational speakers in, sometimes we get networking, we do games nights with business focused.

“The aim is to have a space for different people in different sectors to come together and create connections.

“Our tagline is communicate, connect, collaborate - those are the three core values of Scottish Women in Business and the soft skills that women in business are well known for and aren’t necessarily celebrated.

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“That’s kind of what we’re trying to do with the awards is to recognise the things that women in business are good at and what we’re overlooked for.”

Zaynab joined Scottish Women in Business in 2014, after starting as a trainee at Turcan Connell solicitors.

The Glasgow office had recently opened and Zaynab was encouraged to go out and network. Just a few years later, she was on the committee.

Now overseeing the second ever Scottish Women in Business Awards, Zaynab is juggling her responsibilities at SWIB with her full-time job and a newborn baby.

“I wouldn’t be doing it if i didn’t enjoy it. It’s a challenge but I’m enjoying every part of it. The things all feed into each other.

“I’m there to make business connections. It’s not just a job as president, it’s about the network and the connections that come out of being a member.

“It’s been really nice to take the helm and give back to an organisation that took me in when I was a trainee. I felt a real support and camaraderie with SWIB and I wanted to be a part of continuing that and get other people involved.”