I feel really strongly about women being in situations where they can realise their full potential. My years in the corporate world have turned me out far more passionate about this issue than any other experience in my life. Whether a woman chooses to be an investment banker or a charity staffer, the value of their work must be the same as the value of any male counterpart with or without children. One may be valued by the market at a higher rate than the other (and perhaps society will change this over time … after all, how much do you care about the remuneration of your child’s teachers?).
But society should not exploit one individual but not another in the same job. We live in a world where Continue Reading…
I have always been a career girl. And I had always wanted kids. Once I had both, I saw no reason why I should not be able to work hard and succeed at both. And so for seven long years and three babies later, I did. I pushed myself by day to compete with my male colleagues as if I had no children, burying a part of myself each morning when I left home, often under cover of darkness to jump on my bike and cycle into the office – the only possible way I could squeeze in a little exercise.
For the first several years of my working motherhood, I could not fathom that I would ever feel the need to deny the existence of the most precious part of my life. Continue Reading…
When I first saw this video last December, I was immediately impressed at how well Sheryl Sandberg (COO at Facebook and mother of two) articulated some of the challenges facing women in the workplace and especially what we can do about it. As one of those women, I could connect with so much of what she said and it felt good to hear someone else in the same position.
In the video, she gives three very appropriate tips for women in achieving success. Beyond these tips, there were two things in particular which struck me and which I think are critically important for all of us making choices about the right work-life balance:
(1) we must focus on the things that we as individuals can control. Complaining about something being unfair or inappropriate is not actually going to change anything. Having a positive attitude and taking a proactive approach is the only way to create a better outcome – even if it is ridiculously unfair in some circumstances how people are treated. After all, it is still better than it was for our mothers.
(2) successful women are often perceived as aggressive and disliked for their success while the same behaviour is lauded in men. On reflection, this is true. How many times in our own experience have we seen a powerful or successful woman mercilessly attacked, disliked by peers, even picked on for their clothes when all else fails? We should also ask ourselves if we’ve done this, even inadvertently, because for some reason society wires us this way. I hope not, but as with so many things, awareness is the first step to making a change. In the meantime, as women we must also accept and ignore unfounded dislike we encounter along the way – it is not personal.
Although the video is long (15 minutes), I encourage you to listen to it when you have time. By supporting each other, we will build a better world for both our sons and daughters.