Women at work
Governments and civil society have been trying for some time to increase the numbers of women at Board level in organisations, with relatively little success. Considering that women make up half the population, their numbers in senior positions in the working world are woefully unrepresentative. Sex discrimination legislation was introduced in the UK over 40 years ago. Things have changed, but not as much as we might have expected back in 1974. There are clearly multiple and complex reasons for this. I believe that one of the important ones is the lack of role models for senior women. I believe that Board level stereotypes normally favour macho male characteristics: consequently women who want to lead in a different way are unlikely to get promoted to a level where they can do so. Consequently talented women who want to get to Board Director and MD / Chief Executive positions may be more inclined to leave in order to lead their own companies, to ‘stick’ at a level below their ambition and ability, to develop a more ‘male’ style of leadership, or simply give up altogether.
This is just one view, and I would love to hear from others who may have a different one, particularly where this is based on personal experience. I would like to invite senior women and aspiring senior women to share their experiences here: what worked for you? What successes did you have? Why do you think you were so successful? Most importantly, what constructive advice could you offer to others: what have you learned that you wished someone had told you when you started out? If you are on your way up, what help and support do you think you need (you may think you don’t need any, tell us) to get you to the top?
This site is NOT about arguing the case for women, or pitting women against men. That is unhelpful and diverts our energy from the real issues. We are all people, and all have something to offer. Research seems to suggest that women are more likely to be motivated to use their skills, knowledge and influence for the benefit of the community. I am simply interested in how we can help women to be able to use their skills and abilities at all levels in the working world, if they wish to, in the way that men have already been doing for a very great number of years.
Help us to get this site off the ground and make it into something that will be a valuable resource for you and the women you know.
Climate Change is something we hear about constantly, we are having regular experiences of extreme weather across the globe. It is inconvenient for some, for others devastating. We waste time arguing about whether ‘climate change’ exists or not, which again diverts energy from the real issue which is the extreme weather and its increasing occurrences, and how we defend ourselves against potential cataclysmic effects. In the West, we might be inconvenienced by extreme flooding; in communities in Africa or Asia dependent on the harvest not getting washed out of the ground, it is a matter of survival.
In 2014 I was fortunate enough to be able to visit an NGO in northern India and observe the incredibly valuable work they are doing in the rural villages of Uttar Pradesh. I kept a blog of my trip, and one of the most powerful thoughts I took back from that experience was the huge amount of work that needs to be done, and is being done, to support the extreme poverty everywhere in northern India. Almost everywhere I looked, I could see a way to make an improvement. How on earth do you make a start? As a lone woman, how can I make an impact in a country like India? It’s much easier to get on with your life and just forget about them, assume others are better placed to help. It’s probably true, but what would I have to do to make it not true? I don’t really know. I just know that it’s not good enough. I wanted this site to help to provide that knowledge by bringing together existing and new ideas of projects we can all support, get involved with or simply take an idea and make it happen.
In March I went on a cruise to the Arctic. I looked at all my fellow passengers, many of whom were affluent pensioners, many of whom also seemed to lack purpose since retiring. How can anyone accept boredom, when there is so much to do in the world? I don’t understand.
There are significant networks of women in developing countries working hard to improve the lives of themselves and the people around them. These aspirations and will to make a difference are shared by many. This site aims to connect women across the globe working in the same spirit, to explore the issues, understand ourselves better and develop and further women’s leadership. There are unifying experiences as a woman even when the contexts vary so much and we want to build on that solidarity