WSS Opinion: International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day! We wanted to write an article to shout out to the women who are making a difference in our world and paving the way for younger women. The women who won’t take no for an answer, the women who constantly strive for better, the women who seem to do it all, and the women who fight against sexism and glass ceilings.

2023 seems to be the year where women are taking a stand. Taking a stand against sexual harassment in the workplace has led to the fight for parity and equality like never before and I am excited to see where this will take women in the future.

There is no reason why women shouldn’t get the same pay or opportunities as men. We have studied and worked the ladder the same as our counterparts, so why do we get paid less? The latest percentage of women on ASX 200 boards is only 26.7% (28 February 2018), with 5 boards not having women board members at all. That’s a scary statistic. Women are graduating at higher rates than men, so why would companies only choose to hire and promote males and why are only a small proportion of women represented on boards?

Is it because of women having children? I can’t see why this would cause a problem when most families share childcare now and women return to work earlier than ever after birth. Workplaces also need to be more flexible to accommodate the need for work-life balance, not just for women but men as well. There is nothing healthy about working a 60+ hour week! It would probably help with the high divorce rate too, which also has a high negative impact on women (especially financially and if you have children).

How many times have you been competed against in the workforce, as a Mum, or in life generally? Unfortunately, some women are also our own worst enemies. Why do we feel the need to see other women as competition or the enemy? I’ve never understood this mentality.

I worked in a fairly female-dominated industry (advertising and marketing) and the constant undermining and one-upmanship (one-upwomanship?) were absolutely ridiculous. One of the other managers I worked with felt so threatened by me that she made my life hell. She talked behind my back and belittled anything I did, even trying to manipulate my boss with negative comments about my work and general performance (thankfully, he was smart enough to see through her tactics). In the end, she was sacked because of her antics, but not soon enough to save the damage she caused to the reputation of the company and staff morale. This was all in aid of trying to progress her own career. At what cost though? She was let go because of it. That is an example of where I have experienced female competitiveness in the workplace but I have heard many, many similar stories of women competing against others over the years and it needs to stop.

Then there is the whole mums who work v’s stay-at-home mums battle and the women who are mums vs women who choose not to have children. Who cares! The beauty of this day and age is that we can do what we want to do and we have the choice of what we what to do with our lives. What is right for you, might not be right for someone else. Wouldn’t it be nice if we were more accepting and empathetic to others’ choices, instead of projecting your own beliefs or ideals onto others?

Speaking of projecting your own ideals, how many times have you judged another woman because of their appearance? Just don’t.

The world would be boring if we all looked like Instagram models, wouldn’t it? Who cares if someone is fat, skinny, middle-aged, young, black, white, pink, purple… whatever! Stop judging other women. The amount of nasty, judgemental comments written by women towards other women (especially online) is disgusting. It’s time to recognise the beauty in others, “faults” and all. As an editor of a women’s lifestyle site, I get invited to a lot of events and I have lost count of the number of times I have received “the look” (“the look” is where one looks you up and down and thinks “OMG! What is she doing here?”) because I am in my 40’s and a size 16. Which, essentially, says more about them than it does about me but why do it in the first place?

As a wrap-up, we should be supporting each other, not judging, competing with, or criticising each other.  We hope we have given you some food for thought on International Women’s Day! What do you think of how women treat each other?

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