Great read in the Guardian today (well 5th October – I am catching up on the world, now I have my head out of work project mode) on a topic very close to my heart. Women at work and the balance we need to negotiate, define and claim as our right. Take a read here of ‘Women at work: Forget the balance, this is the merge’
I am such an advocate of this. Women do need, no, it is our duty to ‘remake the work place in our image’. It really is not enough to just give ourselves a pat on the back that ‘we made it’ to the top without renegotiating the terms to include what we, as females, have to balance: work, life, family/children without feeling like we ‘failed’ at any or all.
This idea of defining those terms and being empowered enough to demand them is truly changing the terms and negating ‘male supremacist’ ideals that we live in. Women executives need to redefine this from the top, and be supported by women still climbing the ladder to create the framework we need in the workplace.
I know this first hand. The more Senior I become in my field the narrower it becomes to actually achieving all I need to without the ‘ career fear’ factor setting in. Can I have children now and not mess up my career? What am I going to do as a mother who wants to work, needs to work for my own self-fulfillment and well-being? Will this make me a bad mother? Will society judge me? Can I afford child care? Are the crippling costs of child care in the UK really supporting women to go back to the workplace? What if I don’t have a choice as a single mother? If I was living in Lagos, what would my worries be?….the questions are endless and we alone are answering them so why not, now, renegotiate the terms in our favour. Interestingly, my next pipeline project will be working with 3 executive males with me as the only SME to aid them achieving the strategic vision. What will this mean for me? It will be interesting how we navigate my need to balance my work-health as well as family-children needs. Neither of which are negotiable but I am still capable of navigating it all and doing a great job without feeling like I ‘failed’ in any if I define the terms and not have them defaulted for me.
I am true to myself. As the song I was learning on my guitar this weekend rightly declares: ‘I’ve got to do me, no matter where I’m at and it ain’t easy. But it’s my life, my life, my life…’
So, I’m putting my ideals to practice. I’m game. Nothing to lose really and my male counterparts can actually benefit and learn from it too. I am going to buy the book and will keep you posted. Experiment: Define your work terms on the Female Principle.