Designing workplace equality

Sonya Lennon

Today we celebrate International Women’s Day 2022 with our latest 1% Podcast guest, founder, entrepreneur, social entrepreneur, broadcaster and fashion designer Sonya Lennon. Sonya has just been named in the top 100 women in Ireland who are changing the world in 2022.

While Sonya has a wonderfully eclectic career, in this conversation we focus on the initiatives she is involved in around women in the workplace and in leadership roles, as well as equality in general in the workplace.

Sonya has dedicated much of her time and energy to helping Irish women (re)enter the workforce with confidence via WorkEqual, the non-profit she founded in 2011.

Upon realising that to achieve sustainable, positive change, the right conversations have to happen at boardroom level, Sonya went on to co-found LIFT Ireland in 2018. LIFT is a social enterprise aimed at increasing the level of positive leadership in Ireland which has an impressively large and rapidly growing membership base.

Hopefully we can use this fascinating and solution-based conversation as a lens to view the state of equality in the workplace as we celebrate this important day.


Find the show on your favourite player


05:38 Studying for a Masters in Business Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

09:11 The pandemic’s impact on fashion and retail

11:11 On having a portfolio career

20:56 What inspired Sonya to work for herself

23:53 Instilling equality and empowerment in commercial environments

26:40 Is Ireland a welcoming place for female entrepreneurs?

28:33 How Sonya has been treated as a woman in business

36:52 Where to start embedding deep cultural values of equality in the workplace

40:36 LIFT Ireland’s initiative

45:43 Recognising emotional support in the workplace

52:15 ‘The broken rung’ – the first step up to manager is still unequal

54:33 What the future looks like for female leaders

Links Mentioned:

Photo by The Times