The 2019 campaign for International Women’s Day is #BalanceforBetter – a focus on gender balance to achieve a better world for all.
Nothing wrong with that aspiration. In fact, we’ve spent considerable time this week promoting vacancies for a client keen to improve female representation on its board and highlighting the achievements of young women engineers.
The IWD campaign says: “Balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue. The race is on for the gender-balanced boardroom, a gender-balanced government, gender-balanced media coverage….”
Surely it’s entirely a women’s issue? If we really are to be ‘sisters doing it for themselves’, then it’s down to us to redress the balance.
We are all daughters, mothers, wives, sisters. The most important aspects of our lives are defined by our gender. These are often the relationships which we put before our professional aspirations. But they are also the relationships in which we can have the most impact.
We need to raise our daughters to be strong women and raise our sons to know that there’s no threat in that.
If you’ve already broken through the glass ceiling, look out for the woman coming up the career ladder behind you; if you’re the colleague, don’t tut when the call from school comes in to pick up the sick child and if you’re the boss, know that being flexible is worth a fortune to your business.
Support each other
Women, by nature, can do more. More of everything. At the same time. We just crack on.
I saw a quote recently which said a working mother’s dilemma was trying to work as if one didn’t have a family, while trying to raise a family as if one didn’t have to work.
Only when this doesn’t ring true for most working women will we be anywhere near solving the gender balance issue.
I’m not saying we need to down tools. Or stop being bloody brilliant multi-taskers. There’s no reason why we can’t answer the emails with a baby on our hip or draft a PR plan while waiting for football training to finish.
We just need to stop being so apologetic about it. And we need the support of other women if we are to succeed in that. It’s down to us.