International ‘Great Supporters of Women’ Day
Throughout my career, I’ve tried to support all women – from all walks of life.
The woman struggling with her self-confidence who can’t see the value in her own skillset. The one striving for social mobility. The woman trying to build a successful career and find a great partner – while worrying about her ticking maternal clock. The one balancing children, business and her everyday life – truly wonder woman.
And not least of all, the young woman. This woman is the future.
I have met some amazing women and I want to use this blog to celebrate all those who support great women.
From the moment I entered the workforce, I’ve been committed to supporting other brilliant women.
I believe this came from a place early in my career where men thought they were being ‘helpful’ in giving unwanted advice about how I should change. Of course, they didn’t recognise that if I had changed, I wouldn’t have been me anymore. I would have lost everything that made me authentically me!
So is Bias Still Alive?
Just a few weeks ago, it was the 100-year anniversary of women obtaining the right to vote. No one can deny we have made huge progress and that women today have far greater opportunities than the generation before us had. But despite these advancements, is gender bias still alive and kicking?
Referring to women as ‘love’ and ‘darling’ may be now thankfully considered old-fashioned and offensive – particularly in the workplace. But a woman today is still more likely to be called a ‘prima donna’ (or other words I’m too polite to mention here) as opposed to her male counterpart who’s known as the ‘go-getter’.
No matter how much progress we’ve made, there is always more to be done and we’ve got to keep shifting the dial.
Despite the fabulous women that I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from, it frustrates me that more women don’t overtly help other women on the way up. One way this could be done is simply through sharing their story – particularly the challenges faced, but even more importantly, the challenges that were overcame. Not only would this show other women there is hope, it could just inspire them that anything is possible.
But the very best thing I’ve experienced is seeing a new generation of men who are not seeing gender or other bias. They don’t have the same traditional opinions about women in the workplace as their fathers and bosses may have had. They talk openly about the responsibility they feel for their daughters and how they want their sons to treat women. That is what I want to celebrate today.
So I’m extending my celebrations today to just some of the fantastic people who are either fantastic women or great supporters of women. Thank you for being you and accepting us for who we are. Please keep doing what you’re doing.
Happy International Women’s Day All
Melanie Steel is founder of People Change Expertise Ltd and is an experienced HR | Change | Programme Director currently considering interim opportunities.