Women are being fed the baby explanation where we have less super, a greater gender pay gap and are promoted less because we all stop work at some point to have a baby.
It’s my opinion that it’s about time we debunked the baby myth. Call it out for the bullshit it is and closely examine the real reasons women don’t stay in the corporate environment.
The baby myth does not account for the many women who choose not to have children, or who’s children are taken care of or who had children before they started their career.
Why would we work so hard to achieve in our career only to give it up when we have a baby?
We have spent a long time achieving our dream job with long nights, extra study, raising our profile, working hard, kicking goals and rising up the corporate ladder.
Why do women give it all away and where do we go?
Personally, I think the reason is exhaustion. Not physical but mental exhaustion. We are tired of the small everyday misogyny that creeps into the language and attitudes of our workplaces.
G’day Gents! started the happy email that arrived in my inbox recently from one of the people on a project I had passionately been involved in, much to my innermost disappointment.
I hate to point out the obvious, but I am NOT a gent. So now I am faced with a quandary.
If I make a general point of encouraging inclusive language in organisations, am I humourless? Am I taking it all to heart? After all It’s just a phrase, so why would I worry about it?
I know if I say something I will be labelled as a difficult woman.
Therefore, inspired by all the difficult women that came before me, I have to say something, even though I know that it means the end of my involvement in the project.
I’m ok with that. I am older, and I just can’t stomach this anymore. I know I am not alone.
The tide is turning
If you are stuck back in the Jurassic era with its attitude to gender, you will be left behind by the best and brightest men and women. Who wants to be a dinosaur or associated with one?
I was speaking with young female lawyers who were in the process of leaving one law firm for another because there were no female partners. That new firm gained some real talent.
Just like the movie Jurassic Park showed us, bringing back something that no longer belongs in the present society is dangerous and will only do more harm to the community.
The women that came before us would be heartbroken to discover that we are not treated equally according to our skills and ability but are sidelined by our gender at some firms.
Message to my fellow project workers
It greatly matters to us that we get called girls when you are speaking to a team of mainly blokes. It matters to me that I still feel like I can’t call it out without hurting myself.
Language, inclusion, pronouns, the opinions and input of the whole world matter.
On a disappointing note, I naively thought that in my fifteen years away from the corporate world, attitudes and opinions geared towards human life would have changed.
How wrong was I?
Don’t get me wrong, there has been significant progress. Seeing people display their preferred pronoun feels like inclusion and consideration and some workplaces are leading the charge.
But is it enough?
I like hearing stories where women take control, live our best lives and make our choices. Women over the age of 40 are the largest growing number of self-employed people.
As a group we have so much skill, knowledge, integrity, and passion. We know we can’t be what we can’t see, and we certainly can’t be what the decision makers can’t see.
The choices are easier than you would think
It’s easy to call it out where you are and expect to be met with the familiar tune of “she just couldn’t cut it” and “we have women here doing really well, look at Token Woman”.
Token Woman is often the only woman at the meeting and works twice as hard to get half the recognition. She rarely mentions her personal life and is the first one in and last to leave.
There are still people and organisations out there that want to look good rather than be good, by putting women in positions in order to attain a required quota. I don’t want to play the politics of being a Token Woman since her job is to quietly agree with the dominant paradigm.
Why would I when I can go out on my own and do it my way?
Organisations that allow this phenomenon to go on are missing a great opportunity to have multiple perspectives and insights so as to facilitate innovation and improvement.
The disruption culture allows and encourages a small business to upscale. If your organisation is missing out on those customers, this will help you find them and delight them.
Therefore, if you are still wondering why women in their 30s and 40s are still very under represented in corporate life, it’s down to one too many emails starting with G’day Gents.
Additionally, one too many snide remarks about needing to take days off or being barren or being harassed and assaulted in ways that can’t happen to men puts us off.
Or maybe we simply looked at the mediocre man getting promoted over the amazing woman and hung up our lanyards, snapped on our best shoes and decided to step out on our own.
As Julia Gillard said, “We are entitled to a better standard than this.”
Step aside dinosaurs it’s our time to shine!
Phoebe Blamey is the author of the Happy Money Journey. A guide to helping women become unshakeable with their money! Phoebe is a top mortgage broker and business owner with 20 years’ experience in the financial industry and more importantly, is an incredible single mother.