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We ‘Choose to Challenge’

International Women’s Day (IWD) is a day dedicated to celebrating the achievements of women, and an opportunity to reinforce commitment and action for gender parity.

The campaign theme for International Women's Day 2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge’. To raise a hand to show you're 'in' and choose to challenge inequality. Here at phs we accept the challenge and are proud to forge an inclusive workforce.

We'll be highlighting some of the incredible women at phs throughout the week in celebration of IWD.

Kelly and Jennie

For many learners in the UK, period poverty is a real issue and Kelly from Marketing and Jennie from phs Direct worked in partnership with many other colleagues from phs to turn period poverty into period equality - a historical first, finally having access to free period products at school.

Kelly says: “Our independent research showed that 1 in 14 learners aged between 11-18 admitted to missing school because they couldn’t afford or access period products. It was a real career highlight to be part of bringing free period products to schools and for the Government to want to know more about our research, campaign and product proposition. The Government Equalities Office replied to our engagement, calling our work ‘amazing and inspiring’ and invited us to be part of creating the official UK Period Poverty Taskforce.”

Jennie says: “Once the tender was secured, it was a real team effort to actually be able to get the products to schools. We set up an online portal with a range of 17 products available to order including sustainable options. Working on this project opened my eyes to the scale of period poverty in the UK, and I had many sleepless nights about it! I was just so passionate about getting it right and making sure that we could fulfil our orders. Seeing the first orders come in from schools was amazing. It was definitely worth all the time and effort.”

Both Kelly and Jennie continue to support phs Direct and the Department of Education to drive awareness of the scheme and to continue the conversation with schools, so more people have access to free period products. The initiative was recently named Best Education Campaign at the national CIM awards, which is a great achievement.

As advocates for period equality in education, we're introducing free period products to phs employees with our partners Lil-Lets. We believe period products are a necessity, not a luxury.


As the MD of phs Greenleaf, Emily is determined, ambitious and successful. She’s also helping to pave the way for more positive visibility for women at phs.

Emily says: “To be a successful leader, it is important to have self-belief and to know your own values in order to support others to be the best they can be. The fact that I am a woman is irrelevant to what I believe in as a person and I support my team by strengthening a culture based around my personal values - be helpful, be kind and be ready to work. My team are all experts in their own fields and so by living our hard-working and co-operative culture and by acting authentically, we deliver the best results.”

With many stand-out business successes, Emily led phs Compliance to a sustainable and above-market profitability before taking on the role of Greenleaf MD. Her advice for other women in the business is to “step up to the plate, put your hand up and believe in yourself. Embrace your qualities as, regardless of gender, we all have personal values that are capable and worthy of helping us achieve amazing things.”


As phs’ Lead Learning and Development Co-ordinator, Suzanne is a great example of progression within a business. Having started her phs journey in 2004, she’s worked and supported many departments within the business from Customer Support Administration, to Internal Auditing, to Rebates team, until she landed a role with the amazing Learning & Development team. 

Suzanne says: “I love my job and have great satisfaction in helping others with their training requirements. I’m excited to take on my next challenge as a people manager for the first time.

As well as stepping up to lead projects, Suzanne has nearly finished her Business Admin Level 3 Diploma and is about to start a Chaware Teg – aspiring leaders for women ILM 2 course in the next few weeks.

phs has partnered with Welsh equality charity Chwarae Teg and running a six-month Leadership and Management programme to equip women employees with the skills and qualifications to progress within the business. 19 employees have signed up for the scheme, alongside mentorship support from female leaders and manager across the business.

Show your support and solidarity

Group CEO Mpumi and other company execs showing their solidarity and support

Strike the ‘Choose to Challenge’ pose and share your support on social media using #ChooseToChallenge #IWD2021 to encourage more people to commit to helping build an inclusive world. You can find more on IWD and 'Choose to Challenge' theme here.

Speak to phs today

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