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Women supporting women – it is the “Right” thing to do

Women supporting women – it is the “Right” thing to do.

By Lynn Erasmus

“Why would you hire a woman or a person of colour?” I ask.

“Well, my dear, it is the ‘Right’ thing to do after all, isn’t it?” he replied, slightly concerned, and with a hint of surprise, or was it irritation I detected in his voice?

I don’t know about you, but as a ‘Third Culture Individual’, I am tired of hearing this phrase and believe me, I haven’t only heard it once or twice or even five times, but nine out of ten times when I ask this question.

So in honour of International Women’s Day, I wrote this article for each of you and those who came before us; different, marginalised and working five times as hard to be seen as equal to the man, born in a country who gives you the ‘Right’ and privilege to claim what is yours, without hesitation, “Because, my dear, it is the ‘Right’ thing to do after all, isn’t it?”

Don’t worry men, we still admire you, we still want to be you, around you, and learn from you, and we hope you wish the same for us too, it is after all, the ‘Right’ thing to do.

So, let me take you on a journey, I am taking you back, way back, say 800 years ago when the Coverture Law was created. This law was for our own protection, ladies, it stated that we became the property of our husband upon marriage.

For example, if a wife happened to murder her husband, the courts could not condemn it as murder, but instead, it was considered petty treason, as the woman was seen as challenging the Crown by killing her master, (naughty girl) and for that, she needed to be hanged and quartered.  But even back then, they knew the difference between ‘right’ and wrong and decided that it wasn’t becoming for a woman to be cut into four pieces, so being burned at the stake is a much better option. Thank goodness for men doing the “Right” thing and sparing us the indignity of being displayed in such a barbaric manner, no, being burned alive is a much better option.

Women, do you own a property, or have you ever owned one before? You will like this one.

Back in the good old days, when a woman married a man, he would automatically own all her property and inheritance and even when he died, it could be bequeathed to another male heir.

Thank goodness for small miracles, I mean we don’t have time to care for properties when we have parties to plan and hair and make-up to be done. Our pretty little heads would just explode if we were to do bookkeeping and manage our monthlies – yuk. Thank you brave, strong and clever men for doing the “Right” thing.

I don’t know if any of you are married but can you remember the choices you had to make before you decided to get married, remember how many frogs you had to kiss before finding your prince?

Well, in the good old days, men did all of that for us, they decided who was best suited for us and all that hard-working ‘stuff’. Yes, sometimes they would choose men three times our own age, but at least we were leaving our boring homes when we were 15 years of age, and we could serve their needs. That was our only purpose in life. It was the “Right” thing to do after all.

Men, always doing the right thing by us – wouldn’t you agree?

No?

You mean you don’t believe what I just told you?

The sad truth is, it is all true, every single one of them I mentioned, and they are not the only ones.

Have our lives become better, yes; yes, it has, significantly, but is it good enough? No.

Women in the UK were only allowed to cast their vote in 1928.

Abortions were legalised in 1967 and the Equal Pay Act passed in 1970.

Domestic violence, crime and victims act only in 2004 and addressing sexual harassment in the workplace in 2010.

Here’s the kicker, forced marriage only became a criminal offence in the UK in 2014 – a mere 9 years ago.

So, when politicians, business leaders and academia start talking about embracing equality, diversity and inclusion, I kind of go – WTF.

Because in the 53 years since the Equal Pay Act was passed, there are still only 10 Women CEOS in the Financial Times Stock Exchange 250 Index, meaning the top 250 performing companies in the UK, although they are proud of the fact that there are 32 women Chairs on their Boards…321

Is this enough?

Is this “Right”?

No.

So, what can we do?

How about doing the “Right” thing for us, by taking the situation into our own hands and forging our way forward together, supporting each other, instead of tearing each other down?

Here are five simple things that we can start doing today, to boost and support women and the marginalised in our communities and work environment.

  1. Talk openly about fair and equitable pay policies:

If we hold ourselves and our leaders accountable to do the “Right’ thing even when no one is looking, we are halfway there to achieving success.

  1. Promote a culture of diversity and inclusion:

If you notice that your office is looking one-dimensional, be brave enough to speak up and suggest hiring more women, people of colour, young people and or people from another ethnicity.

  1. Encourage work-life policies:

This includes offering flexible work arrangements, paid parental leave, and on-site childcare to support work.

  1. Stop sexual harassment and discrimination:

If you see something that does not look right, say something. Ask your HR manager what your anti-harassment policies and procedures are and insist on training and education around these matters.

  1. Lift each other up:

Do you have a woman in your company who is perhaps young, shy, and feeling like they don’t belong? Reach out to her and see if you can help her on her career path or ask HR for mentorship and leadership programs to promote women into senior positions and high-level roles.

When I immigrated to Scotland, my husband and I started our businesses at the same time.

I handled all the marketing and admin for him so would reach out and respond with his signature.

Did you know that 90% of the time people would respond to his email, those same people I would email for my business, silence…

And you know what the worst is… It was women doing this to women…

We need to curb this trend.

Now before I finish my talk, I am going to ask you to take out your phones and scan this code, it will ask you to give me feedback and each of you that responds will be invited to a complimentary Speaking with Confidence Lunch & Learn session as a thank you from me to you.

We are all responsible for each other’s successes and failures. We should hold each other accountable for reaching our full potential because together we move like a rock, unstoppable and unshakable.

“Here’s to strong women: May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.” – All Women.

Lynn Erasmus is a Third Culture Individual, and a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, journalist & speaker, shifting the audience from a place of fear to curiosity. She connects leaders and management with their teams, by helping them understand their core values, vision and team strengths and then bringing them together to achieve their shared goals through Cultural IQ. She delivers these outcomes through interactive keynotes, fun away days, focused masterclasses & training, and in-depth coaching sessions. As the Founder of SYMBL CIC, she is a fierce advocate for Inclusivity, Diversity, Equality and Belonging, where she helps companies to adapt their company culture to become innovative and sustainable global leaders.

https://linktr.ee/lynnerasmus

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