Balancing act and inclusion for all

Balancing act and inclusion for all

With the rise of female networking groups, private member clubs and published material with the sole aim of empowering and enriching women there was bound to be some noise.

I believe in balance. Especially Gender Balance. Yes this blog is aimed towards empowering women and predominantly about women, it doesn’t mean I am against men. Infact, the men in my life are allies, best friends and of course, my partner.

The UNFPA commented – “Gender equality is intrinsically linked to sustainable development and is vital to the realization of human rights for all. The overall objective of gender equality is a society in which women and men enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life.” And I agree.

Of late, Male comments have been – ‘what about a Man’s networking club?’ or ‘Where are the Men in STEM groups?’ Although I find the comments to be disagreeable… I wanted to explore their points.

‘What about a Man’s networking club?’

Back in the 18th Century there was the introduction of the Gentleman’s clubs which were private places that were designed to allow men to relax and create friendships with other men. In the 19th and 20th centuries, clubs were regarded as a central part of elite men’s lives.

These types of places still exist such as Garrick Club, Buck’s Club and Flyfishers’ Club which do not allow Women to join. Source: Wikipedia .

It was back in 19th Century when the Women institute was formed and now in the 21st Century we have vibrant, collaborative, global platforms, like Allbright, The Coven and Step Up Club which include memberships, networking and courses to enable their female members to grow into success, learn new skills and connect with other women.

To summarise: There are private members clubs for men and for women. There are also clubs that allow both genders.

‘Where are the Men in STEM groups?’

According to a study by Women in Stem showed from the percentage split for current female students to graduates and professionals working in STEM in the UK. 

Computer sciences

Female – 4,525 – 19%
Male – 19,550 – 81%
Total – 24,090

When we looked at the UCAS data for students studying computer sciences related degrees, only 19% were female, with a staggering 81% of students being male.

Engineering and technology

Female – 23,650 – 19%
Male – 102,970 – 81%
Total – 126,660

So, That’s why Women in STEM and Women in Tech groups and organisations exists. It is to attract women into positions to help build more diverse teams.

Barack Obama famously Said:

‘It’s easy to absorb all kinds of messages from society about masculinity and come to believe that there’s a right way and a wrong way to be a man. But as I got older, I realized that my ideas about being a tough guy or cool guy just weren’t me. They were a manifestation of my youth and insecurity.’

‘That’s what twenty-first century feminism is about: the idea that when everybody is equal, we are all more free.’

‘While I’ll keep working on good policies—from equal pay for equal work to protecting reproductive rights—there are some changes that have nothing to do with passing new laws. In fact, the most important change may be the toughest of all—and that’s changing ourselves.’

I hope these quotes fill you will some inspiration.


Networking Groups and clubs for Men

Publications for Men

  • Men’s Health Magazine.
  • Coach | Do Something.
  • The Coolector | Men’s Lifestyle Magazine | Design, Gear & Fashion.
  • British GQ Magazine.
  • Mens Fashion Magazine Online | Latest Men’s Fashion and Style Magazine.
  • Menswear Style Digital Magazine.
  • Men’s Running magazine.

Want to support Women? Read this here:

Support for Men

Do you have any recommendations? What is your story for supporting men and women?

Women empowering women, notes from the Margaret Dawson talk

Women empowering women, notes from the Margaret Dawson talk

I had the opportunity to attend a talk by Margaret Dawson at the Women in Business Expo (2019). Her set was about women empowering women which I found bloody inspirational. And wanted to share some key points from what she had to say.  

Women empowering women, Dawsons thoughts

Dawson started off with asking the audience if we knew our purpose? Knowing who you are and your purpose is a question that most people probably can’t answer and by the lack of hands shooting up in the air, answered my theory. I learnt that from around the age of 8 is when we start processing other people’s input, and their input can shape who we think we are.

Even at the age of 31, I still have ‘naysayers’ add comments to my actions such as: ‘don’t change your job, you will look unreliable’, ‘Can you actually do that?’ (THAT being anything from starting a business, running a events, writing a blog) and ‘you will never make the money you want, it isn’t realistic.’ From a girl to woman, input like this has always been there.

How are those comments helpful? How is that empowering me? What are you getting out of this and do have something constructive to add at that end of negative sentence?

Society Define who we are allowed to be.

Listening to this input, too much will only result in hiding who we are. This is evident in the business world, especially when it comes to a job application. It is common knowledge that Women will not apply for a job unless she 100% qualified, experienced and more. Where men, will apply for a job even if he only has 60% of job spec skills.

You can read more about this here:

Dawson referred to our being as a pure light, which is humble and beautiful. Our light can be dulled when we have negativity and poor input when we are trying to shape our paths.

[A note to add to the readers: Before we input into someone else’s being, perhaps we should make sure the words we are saying are of some use and empowering not unhelpful and demoralising]

Dawson talked around a bullying in the workplace how it can come from women towards other women. She referred to a point where women start to progress up the ladder then there is almost like a high-heel pointing down keeping other women a safe distance from their ivory towers.

Image result for bully business woman

It is not always in business that you have this odd competitive nature of not supporting women. I have experienced women in my life who either friends or people I have met that have lacked empathy, encouragement and actually been a bully.

To conclude, Dawson gave 8 points on how we can women can empower women:

  1. Intentional support other women
  2. Hire more women in your organsiation
  3. Mentor, coach, train – no matter the age
  4. Encourage your daughters (and sons) to take that risk
  5. Level the playing field, don’t put up blockers.
  6. Be nice to that different girl
  7. Be aware of the input you give
  8. Celebrate everyones unique light and self.

To round this up 10, I would like to add 2 more:

  1. Don’t be afraid to challenge. Whether the status quo or someone on their behaviour.
  2. Encourage others to follow their dreams, support, give constructive advice and if you can help in any way – whether sharing their business page or writing an article for their own blog small acts of kindness can go a long way…

… And women who do not empower other women, rarely make it!

Please mind the (Gender pay) gap

Please mind the (Gender pay) gap

The subject of the gender pay gap is nothing new – it has been dominating headlines and holding businesses accountable for the last few years.

Upon research, it is still reported that male employees are still getting paid a significant amount more than their female colleagues. According to the independent: ‘Despite efforts and campaigns by women’s rights groups to close the gap, the results found that the gender pay gap has widened in favour of men in the past year, with 78 per cent of the biggest companies in Britain reporting a gap in favour of men.’

‘The UK’s gender pay gap has barely budged in the year since the government imposed new disclosure rules, raising questions over whether its strategy of naming and shaming employers makes them improve their gender pay balance.’ states the Financial Times.

In a year, nothing has changed.

Ssh, don’t discuss your money

There is still the old fashion, non-written rule, that you are not share your earnings with peers, family or friends. It isn’t illegal to do so.

I often wonder if this is a factor that plays a part of the overall gender pay gap? Early on in my career, I was able to witness first hand my male counterpart who joined the same organsiation as me, on the same day, on the same salary within 6 months start to earn a higher salary and received a bigger bonus. We still did the same job. I count myself lucky that I was able to have that confidential and trusted conversation with him and I was able to use that information in the correct way. Although that company didn’t give me a success story, however to this day – I am no longer afraid to ask to be measured against my male peers and that I am given the same opportunity as my male colleague next to me.

I also have a couple of select, trusted friends, where we share our career values, stories and salaries. It is almost a way to benchmark ourselves to ensure we are earning the right money, for our career status and for our long term growth.

As a disclaimer, I am not saying you should shout from the rooftop your salary. But find allies to discuss this matter which in turn I believe help empower you as in fact your friend too.

Manroop Khela, Chief Transformation Officer at Santander UK said: ‘the hardest thing is getting people comfortable with being uncomfortable – big corporations have to get used to hiring managers who look, think and sound different to them.’ Although a white, young female – I long for time where I look at a board of directors and I don’t see balding, grey old mem but I see mixture of genders, races and even social status. With this in mind, the pay gaps can arise due other factors such as race, disability or socio-economic background, can actually be wider piece to the puzzle but rarely get as much air time, largely because they’re not as easy to address as well as measure or quantify.

We cannot assume that things are always going to get better as quickly as we hope.

Women are paid 20% less than men in the IT field, 11% less in civil engineering roles and a shocking 25% less in executive roles. This is further proof that it’s important not to get complacent. Ultimately, we need to demand more as individuals – from our partners, from our colleagues and from our employers.

What do you do, to ensure equal and fair pay in your organisation?