Why International Women's Day is so bloody wrong!
I was kindly invited to a number of International Women's Day events today and declined, as I do every year since the first time I went to one and watched a number of women stand up and talk about "how good they are" or "how the glass ceiling existed as they climbed the ladder."
It disgusted me
It disgusted me. Firstly, most of the women were in the number one spot in whichever industry, game or field they chose to be in - so clearly, it was possible to make it to the top.
Secondly, the women that spoke each had husbands who either worked in the business they were in or were equally successful, and not one person recognised their husband's contribution to their achievements, or their families for that matter. One proudly (or at least it sounded that way in the way she communicated her sacrifices) said that she hardly saw her 8 year old daughter because she worked so hard. Gosh, that's something I definitely would not be proud of, and no job in the world would be more important than my kids.
49.6% of the population is female
49.6 per cent of the population is female and we all have choices about where we want to go in our lives, with our families or careers. Not once have I lost an opportunity because I was a female. Not once. In fact, I have been given opportunities along the way because I am a female.
I started my first business at 25 years old. I would never have done that, or been able to achieve what I did without the unfaltering support of my partner at the time, whom I lived with for 10 years. When I had a good day, I had someone to celebrate it with. When I had a bad day, there was someone there who always picked me up. He believed in me even when I didn't believe in myself - and yes, he is a man.
I live in a world surrounded by amazing women
I live in a world surrounded by amazing women; some are successful in business, others successful in life. Few people do it by themselves, and if they do, there is usually something inherently wrong or not normal about the circumstances surrounding that.
As women, we have the best of both worlds. I sat in a Court room a few weeks ago and cried, because what was going on was not justice. If a man did that, he would be a coward or weak. Some may even call him pathetic.
There are many business women that occupy my life both personally and professionally. Some are incredible human beings. They lift you up, support you and consistently DO NOT COMPETE with you. If you achieve something, they are the first to be happy for you.
Then there are others; the ones that either make up stories, or want to put you down, or let you reach the same pinnacles they may have achieved. My favourite "made up story" was that my father gave me everything; the business, the money, the lifestyle. I laugh. No, I did do it myself but gosh I would never in my life begrudge another women if they were so fortunate enough to have had family give them everything. Who says how these things should be done?
There are the ones "that want to put you down". I remember being in Dubai at an Entrepreneurs Organisation University Conference, and I was sitting at a table full of women, and I went to the rest room. Their conversation when I left was about weight. One girl said that I must "starve myself (sic)". Wow! Really??? Have you seen me eat? Another said, "I don't know why everyone thinks she is pretty - I don't". Do you really think a man would say that? Addressing the issues here: I have been thin my whole life and not once have I ever watched my weight or been on a diet. Some people really do just have good genes. As for being "pretty" - who gives a flying f*** whether one person finds you attractive or another? As long as you can look in the mirror and be happy with who you are inside and out, that is all that matters. As I said, "men, wouldn't do that". This is a business group and these women are business women.
The worse thing about this story is that I was told
The worse thing about this story is that I was told. Why in hell would you tell someone about what people are saying about you unless it really affects you, your business or your family? People only carry stories like this to hurt you.
It didn't hurt me - it reminded me of how women need to change in order to play with the big boys. These stories all come from business women.
Today, we celebrate International Women's Day but instead, I celebrate the fact that the entire world should be doing more to help minority groups. In Australia, we don't celebrate our Indigenous communities enough. We don't read about them enough in the papers or of their accomplishments. Mainly because I don't know a single person that is Indigenous that is a "self-promoter". Instead, let's seek out deserving people who are promoting themselves, but instead go along and make difference to the world we live in.
We shouldn't have 50% of women on boards - that's sexist
Let's not have 50 per cent of women on boards. Let's have the best person for the job on boards. I look closely at boards and how they are represented. Of course there still will be the old boys club or chauvinists who don't respect women enough to put them on a board of their choice. We can't change them. They were brought up that way and haven't learned to respect women on merit. Both men and women have flaws, and it saddens me that people in power have the opportunity to make such a huge impact in areas like this. Then you have others that are almost as bad that put the token woman on the board. Who wants to be a token? I know, the ones that have their ego stroked because they "made it".
Be there because you deserve it based on merit and contribution. Be there because you belong and believe in what you have achieved giving you the ability to make decisions and challenge those of others to best represent the board you sit on. People need to change, but unfortunately many have power and lucky for everyone, they are a dying breed. Let's fight for our rights as individuals regardless of gender and build a world that is based on merit. Let's work together to help "real minority groups", not women that represent 3.52 billion people in the world.
Celebrate changes where they are needed most and that is in how women are treated and respected in all of society.
Women, stop being mean to women
And women, stop being mean to women. Be kind, be generous, be supportive and instead of self promoting yourself or getting publicists to write stories on your "success", go out and find a woman who should be acknowledged. Your work will always speak for itself. My work speaks for itself and I don't need another woman or man to tell me that I am successful, but it's nice when they say I've done something good for someone else without seeking to have it publicised.
It is a fact that women that are already on boards are the first to vote down having other women on the same board. That was told to me by the chairman of publicly listed company. Do women really only want themselves to be in the limelight? Do they really need to be that competitive?
Sorry women: I'm not about gender but I am definitely about helping all people especially minority groups have the same opportunities in life that we do.
Ways women can do more:
- Acknowledge friends and strangers on their achievements by simply recognising it.
- If you are a jealous person, go get help. Life is too short to feel that way.
- If you are highly competitive and don't want other women to achieve what you have, work out the "why". Pyschologists are great for that. It probably goes back to not receiving enough recognition in your childhood.
- Go out of your way to find women that are achieving in all walks of life and share their story.
- Support groups like Inspiring Rare Birds founded by Jo Burston. It's all about being "nice" if you read between the lines and pushing women up from all walks of life. It encourages women to start business and I note that often I see a variety of women being promoted here that come from very different backgrounds.
- Remember gender equality, not domination.
- Help minority groups through mentorship and teaching them how to do things that they may not be able to do.