11 December 2013

This is a man's world?

"Mind the maternity gap"

"Male bonuses double those of women says study" 

"Working mothers risk damaging their child's prospects" 

(That last one was the Daily Mail....just saying)

This issue is all over the media at the moment. I have been asked to be a guest on a BBC Radio Cambridge programme on the subject next week which I am delighted about because it is a subject I am very passionate about. 

Feminists hate it when women say that they are not feminists and if you take the dictionary definition of the word then, yes, I am one. I do believe women should be allowed the same rights, power and opportunities as men and should be treated in the same way. I do not however, believe that feminism should be a crusade or a cause. I hate the prospect of female quotas on boards. I am vehmently for equal opportunities and I firmly believe it is then up to each individual to make the most of those opportunities. I would really like the focus to be less on whether there is a glass ceiling for women or a gender pay gap to address and more on making sure that our business environments are conducive to career development for everyone and that our girls are coming out of school fired up with confidence and ambition.

I've blogged on the subject before but I work for money, for me and so I can be the role model I want to be for my daughter. She gets lots of quality time with me but, in addition, I can demonstrate to her that women and girls can be whoever they want to be. I want her to see me enjoying work and I then use my fulfilment to be a more engaging parent to her. It's not a one size fits all, but it fits me. 

It's just my view but I believe we should embrace what makes us men or women and use those attributes to create a balanced workplace. Women trying to compete with men, blaming glass ceilings for lack of progression and shouting about gender pay gaps and inequality need to sit down and re-evaluate their focus. I think we should all focus on what motivates us rather than what we think is holding us back. Blaming someone else for not achieving what we think we should will never see us prosper in the way we want to. We should embrace failure as another experience and get on with it. Don't get me wrong. I cry, get upset and sulk with the best of them but once I've revived my logical mind, I move on.

I consider myself to be a big supporter of women in the workplace, reasonably good at my work, reasonably successful and reasonably ambitious. Despite all this I still recognise my own character traits which prevent me from being able to ruthlessly claw my way to the top in the style of Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. Alpha female, I am not. These traits are:

1. I cry easily. Kelly Cutrone (alpha female and very successful business woman) wrote a book 'If you have to cry, go outside'. She would emotionally flatten me. I'd be outside all day.
2. I think I'm good at my job but will never ask for more money to do it. You won't change that about me (people have tried).
3. I hate upsetting people and can't deal with anyone thinking badly of me. So much so that I verge on pathetic sometimes.
4. I want people who work for me to be the best that they can and that sometimes distracts me from myself.
5. I don't want to be one of the boys. I'm happy being a girl and really don't mind making the coffee (shhh).

Feminist crusaders' heads will be exploding everywhere with that last one but it's true. Along with all of the above I want to succeed. I thrive on building a successful business and I want to be the best I can be.

I am not denying that the glass ceiling and gender pay gap exist and even that discrimination happens. I am simply suggesting that these issues may not have all been constructed by sexist men to keep us out of the boardroom and to keep all the money for themselves. Instead I think that they might be phenomenons which have formed naturally over years of some women making the perfectly valid and personal decision to focus on motherhood over their careers, some women not pushing themselves forward for pay rises as readily as their male counterparts, some women having a lack of confidence to apply for the top jobs and some girls rising from school into the workplace with less ambition than the boys. It's not wrong, it's just the way it is. So, in my humble opinion, the number of women in the top jobs is lower than the number of men for no sinister reason. It's just nature and life. The jobs are there for the taking though girls. Let's just look at ourselves first if we don't end up taking them.

My inspiration ~ Molly Rose High at 2 years and 10 months

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't" ~ Margaret Thatcher

"A girl should be two things: who and what she wants" ~ Coco Chanel

"I don't mind living in a man's world, as long as I can be a woman in it" - Marilyn Monroe

1 comment:

  1. Yay! You're on Bloglovin. Back to your post, very true and well written. x

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo