Happy International Women's Day. Let's inspire the next generation.
Posted: March 8th, 2019 by Alison
Over the past years we have had lots of press about the plight of women over the world, gaining equality in the workplace, in pay and respect in general. The world has seen women and men come together and say enough is enough with the #metoo movement. As a woman in business and also a mum to a 6 year old girl, it is an exciting time of change and empowerment.
We have a long way to go but with days like International Women’s Day we can start addressing the balance that 50% of the population have to struggle with, at home, in society and in the workplace.
When I was growing up I wasn’t aware of the sexist attitudes that surrounded me until I got to secondary school. I grew up in a household of women, my Mum and Dad had three daughters (myself included) and my Dad was not one to adhere to stereotypes. He cooked dinners, helped with housework and did the washing. I remember when I passed my driving test that my Dad knew that it was important for me to know how to check the oil in my car and how to change a tyre. In our house it was never about a ‘girls’ job or a ‘boys’ job it was just a job.
The same went with sport, I loved playing sport and enjoyed playing cricket in the garden with my Dad. When I went to secondary school I wanted to carry on playing cricket and football but I was told that girls were not allowed to play these sports and to just stick to netball and hockey.
We also had to suffer wearing silly netball skirts with bare legs when it was -1c outside, no tracksuit bottoms or trousers were allowed for us. And we’re not talking that long ago, I admit it was the era before internet and mobile phones, but when I tell my daughter of how it was for me as a young girl growing up in the 90’s she thinks that must have been a long long time ago.
Fast forward 20+ years and yes things have changed, it seems silly now that girls weren’t allowed to wear trousers to school and I couldn’t play football.
I try not to adhere to stereotypes in my house so that they grow up in an equal house and take these attitudes in to the wider world. Much to my husband’s frustration at times; my son has painted nails, wears princess dresses and loves make up. My daughter equally loves superheros, plays battles and wants to be whatever she wishes.
Sometimes she still says that’s a ‘girl’s’ toy and that’s a ‘boy’s’ toy but that is the advertising world for you. We need to stop these gender sterotypes across all areas; on television, in supermarkets and toy shops. A toy should just be a toy.
Running my own business I hope I am an inspiration to my children. We have a lot to teach the next generation and make sure the way is a little bit easier than it was for us. The generation before us did a good job moving some boundaries but these boundaries are still there and some are easier to move than others.
We need to remember the small things of paying the same price for a razor are just as fundamental in changing attitudes as the big things like equal pay and recognition in the workplace. I hope that when my daughter is an adult, a leader will just be a leader without it being breaking news that she is a woman.
To have the passion, determination and confidence to run my own business comes from the support around me. My grandmothers, parents and sisters showed the way, now I am showing the way to my children and inspiring the next generation!