Well for me it’s obvious, we’d have dull lives if we lived in a world full of just men and of course just as dull if it was overrun with women.
I help run an ‘all women’ agency. Not by choice, we’d be happy with some chaps in our office but that’s just currently how it is: all girls. However in my previous life, having worked at several large agencies with glass ceilings where women can’t seem to break them and where finding out men are paid more for the same role…well this, as a woman, can shape you. It can shape your attitudes and what you believe in. It also makes you want more and to be taken more seriously. So here I am waving my charger shouting ‘yes we do have a voice!’, yet in some instances it’s not heard and is taken with a pinch of salt or with an air of cynicism.
I take the blonde jokes in my stride, I love pink and yes I can talk up a storm on handbags and shoes, but isn’t that the same as a chat about the football, a drink with your mates in the pub and liking the colour blue? I too enjoy formula 1, blue is the best colour for me to wear and I’m a real ale drinker, not to mention my jokes, which are pretty darn rude! So what’s the difference?
For me there isn’t one, apart from that we still don’t live in a world of equality. However that being said, it is getting better! We run a good business; we deliver award-winning work and have added to many of our clients (male and female) business’s bottom lines. We’ve seen opportunities where others haven’t and what some of it boils down to is just common sense and dare I say it… a woman’s touch, attention to detail and bloody hard graft. We too have been inspired by other strong women along the way, but one of my most impactful mentors during my working life was actually a man.
As much as we like to say otherwise, we can’t do all we do without the men around us too. From our work partnerships such as Fish Media (an all-male web build agency) to our husbands and boyfriends, who have supported us along the way. They support us because they too believe in us, and it’s about mutual respect and understanding.
I’ve attended several CBI meetings recently during which I have felt intimidated – the meetings are 90% male attended and to stand up in front of multi-million pound male business owners and say your piece, is hard. The reward is however that if we push hard enough and take risks, then we are heard. I’ve been surprised at, having spoken up, how much we are actually taken seriously and how often people shake my hand and tell me ‘you have a good point Julie’.
The Wonderland does add to the economy, yes, we do pay the dreaded corporation tax… (Seems we are only one of a few, if the news is to be believed). We women directors are mentors for a new generation; we get our hands dirty and are employers too. So yes, it’s important to have women in business, but as I have learned it’s just as important for men to be there. Women just need to feel more equal and less threatened in the big bad world of business politics.
Written by Julie