I love this photo and would love to claim that it was me as a kid. But honestly, I feel like this girl when I see and hear the ridiculous advice still being given to women.
I recall reading "you can't wear dangly earrings to work if you want to be taken seriously." I diligently followed that advice and suppressed my love affair with dangly earrings for decades! bah! I wear them with pride every day now!
What about all those "how to wear various clothing articles and shoes that are really just torture devices in disguise" articles? I mean, why did I get suckered into wearing high heels that have wrecked my feet and knees for 30 years? There's a fairly strong link to high heels and dubious fashion advice when you consider you are NOT allowed to wear them when evacuating a plane. PWC got into lots of trouble in 2016 when it sent a receptionist home because she did not have high heels on in the office. Ummmm, what about her corset? Jeeeze Louise!!
You know, what makes me madder is that its 2017, and women are still being bombarded by ridiculous advice. Don't take my word for it, have a look at these magazine covers from THIS year!
Don't get me wrong. I adore makeup. Getting my hair done. Nice clothes. But you know what. To afford nice makeup, nice hair, nice clothes and all that, you have to have money.
I wonder what would happen If there were images and advice columns in womens magazines educating girls and women in person, online and in magazines about money, power and influence, right from the get go?
Why am I banging on about this? Because I spend a lot of my time speaking, teaching and facilitating women building their business intelligence skills. I am shocked at how few women are getting sound career advice, access to good business skill building activities and becoming mired in the middle of organisations as a result. I want women to advance.
Because I am all about action, not sitting back and admiring the problem, I've developed The Advancing Women Formula my 6 module female leadership program that enables women to build their EQ (emotional intelligence) IQ (business intelligence) and SQ (social intelligence) skills so they can become the corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and policy makers of the (near) future. I want more women from all walks of life in leadership, now, not in 2186 when gender equality is expected to be achieved.
However....on a lighter note, this edition of the Stickybeak has all the good stuff. Two wonderful Women to Watch who have GREAT advice for you, an article from my wonderful business collaborators at Femeconomy, Your Event Diary which is all the good stuff thats on for women at the moment and of course, updates on the next #WWGI event.
I'll sign off now with a feisty flip of the bird to the patriarchy and all those that hold women back!
Meet Beatrice Crocker who is a woman in tech, a blogger and author and is passionate about supporting women to advance. Beatrice is currently assigned to nbn as a senior test consultant enabling them to shift from waterfall to agile methodologies.
What does that mean?
Basically she helps companies build high quality software and prevent them from implementing something that will adversely impact their business.
In her spare time, Beatrice has self-published a book on how to get a promotion and she has started a blog running on similar topics.
You’ve recently published a book. Two part question.
Why did you choose to write a book?
I chose to write a book because I got sick of being angry about women not progressing or being included well in the workplace and I didn’t want to just be angry. So I decided to do something and put together all my learnings on how to progress and make good career decisions into a single book. The book is called “I’m Ready Now!” and is available via Amazon Kindle.
What’s it all about?
It’s a very practical guide on the steps to take to get a promotion. It is focussed on the politics and relationship side of getting a promotion. A lot of women get stuck in middle management and don’t progress ‘smoothly’ through the middle management layer. A lot of the time, we have a really good understanding of the social dynamic at work but we don’t apply that to getting our ideas heard or funded or to helping our own careers. This book is the one to read when you know you’re ready and still aren’t getting anywhere.
We recently talked about the Queen Bee syndrome which bewilders me. What’s your view on why it happens & how women can deal with it?
I think the root cause of Queen Bee syndrome is a combination of a few things:
Senior female leaders acting out based on a scarcity mentality (ie: there is only one “token chick” allowed at this level)
Assessing their self-worth based on how they look and how much attention they get from senior male leaders which means they are not comfortable with a younger (‘prettier’) woman progressing to their level and ‘stealing’ that attention. The Queen Bee lets the existence of the younger women diminish their self-worth and will act out accordingly.
Management style and progress has occurred based on creating a sense of fear around her performance. A lot of women in the baby boomer generation only progressed because men were too scared to say no to them. It has been an effective tactic. Not a great tactic for progressing other women though.
Insecurity and loneliness. Some women have progressed into levels where for a long time they literally were the only women in the room day in day out. This means they have become used to the loneliness, isolation and feeling of being the ‘other’. They may have also sacrificed relationships and having children to progress and so also harbour these feelings in their personal life as well. This means they are not used to welcoming women into the workplace or having female friends at work. It also may mean they have less to relate to younger women and no obvious way of connecting. Women without children also get judged harshly by women with children so a woman who also does not have children may continue to feel on the ‘outer’ even when more women join her at that level.
Conditioned misogyny where a woman prefers and ranks any male performance and friendship as better compared with that of any woman.
The best approaches to dealing with a Queen Bee is:
Support her career as you would like your own supported – support her in meetings, let her know about networking opportunities, speak positively about her to others, keep constructive feedback to private 1:1 sessions
Become a trusted ally - give her the heads up if you hear anything they might adversely impact her career or the performance of the team
Invite her to social events and get to know her in 1:1’s
Do her a favour – offer to help out with a project, provide encouragement and support, be a positive influence, bring her a coffee or lunch when she’s in back to back meetings
Demystify her by getting to know her as a human first, boss second
Empathise – just because she’s a women, don’t expect her to be perfect
What is it time for now and why?
Women to support other women, if we help each other progress we will all have more opportunities and successes
Women to focus on the highest paying position they can educate and work their way into. Women keep playing way too small.
Women in female-dominated careers to fight for big pay increases
Women to take a step back and support men taking on more caring responsibilities and jobs
Women to value men for being more than a bread winner or provider
Men to promote more women by selecting and placing them into roles, rather than waiting to be asked to do so
Men to more actively participate in the discussion about progress to equality
Men to define what they want their role in society to be, if they are no longer expected to be the bread winner
For us to stop defining our work styles as male or female
Australia suffers greatly from under-employment of our talent base and also under-utilisation of talent that doesn’t fit social norms. As a whole, Australia needs to put a broader lens to equality and be far more ambitious as a society. I believe we have everything to gain and nothing to lose from a more equal society.
How can Stickybeak readers help you?
Read and comment/provide feedback on my book and blog. I’d love to hear other women’s thoughts on what else they need to progress their careers.
There you go Stickybeaks, that is Beatrice's advice much more sensible and pragmatic than some of the other disingenous advice being doled out to women!
Meet Karlin Sloan who is a leadership development expert, a writer, a speaker, and an entrepreneurial CEO.
Karlin runs a global consultancy that helps organizations develop their top talent and manage change effectively.
She is new to Australian bright, bubbly,energetic and definitely a woman who gets it!
What does a fantastic day in the life of you look like and why?
Since I’m new to Australia it’s going somewhere local, meeting amazing new people, having some great food and conversation and seeing new sights!
Which living person do you most admire and why
Amma (the “hugging saint” from India) is my role model. She is one of the worlds great philanthropists – her foundation provides free medical care for poor people, homes for the homeless, scholarships for impoverished kids, environmental initiatives, and disaster relief. She has devoted her life to helping others and to helping our planet.
What book has changed your life?
That is such a hard question! Maybe The Diamond Age by Neil Stephenson or The Disposessed by Ursula LeGuin. Also anything by W. Somerset Maugham. Any of these because it’s important to have one’s mind blown on a regular basis and to connect to what makes us human.
What is it time for now and why?
Make the world better in your own way, wherever you are. Find your purpose and live it every single day. As Martin Luther King said “We may have all come on different ships, but we’re in the same boat now.” I believe it’s time to start rowing together!
How can Stickybeak readers help you?
If you know of an organization going through significant change or challenge, introduce them to me and we can help via our Resilience at Work programs. It’s great work if I do say so myself! Or just link to me on LinkedIn/ follow me on Twitter.
Another woman with great advice and on a mission to improve the world.
Why we need to change more than just the workplace to encourage women in leadership
Matthew Salisbury is a Regional Director for WSP. He is also a member of Chiefs for Gender Equity, a group of CEOs and C-Suite leaders convened by the South Australian Equal Opportunity Commission, who have committed to provide leadership in driving gender equity.
This article was written by Jade Collin, co-founder, Femeconomy.
MATTHEW SHARES HIS VIEWS ON WHAT IT WILL TAKE TO ACHIEVE GENDER EQUITY IN AUSTRALIA.
Four years ago, US businesswoman and author Sheryl Sandberg had discussion boards buzzing with her book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead. In it she told women to empower themselves, step up the challenge and embrace all opportunities for leadership in the workforce. But despite the enthusiasm of women around the world, establishment of ‘lean-in’ groups and countless media articles about the book, Ms Sandberg recently told an interviewer on USA Today that the dial hasn’t moved one bit. Less than 6 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs. So, why would an Australian C-suite male executive be concerned about all this? Simple: better gender equity makes for a better bottom line, and a more equal society.
CHANGE NEEDS TO COME FROM THE TOP
In Australia, the number of female CEOs is also shockingly low, coming in at around 4 per cent of those heading up ASX 200 companies. And yet there’s very compelling research that shows positive links between female leadership and better organisational performance.
While traditionally STEM industries haven’t had a strong track record in gender equity, things are changing. Senior leaders now understand the business imperatives, as well greater societal benefits, of putting a plan in place to level the playing field. My vision is to see more young women choosing engineering as a career, and female professionals in the industry empowered to step up to the most senior leadership roles. We’re working on it, but I’m prepared for the fact that it may be long road. ABS statistics show women make up only around 11.8 per cent of the total engineering workforce in Australia.
Here at WSP we’re trying to highlight how our female engineers at all levels make such a valuable contribution to the profession. We’ve launched an internal program called EngineeredHERWay that both celebrates our female talent and encourages those women to stay with us for the journey all the way to the top, as well as encouraging women to join our business. We’re also looking at how we can be more flexible to meet the needs of our workforce so women will stay and thrive. We’re keen to be part of groups like the South Australian Chiefs for Gender Equity so we can access research and proven strategies for driving this change.
UNCONSCIOUS BIAS HOLDS US BACK
But it’s more than just the important changes we make in the workplace. What’s also important is changing attitudes in the community. Research shows women drop out of engineering careers at around the 10-year mark. Just when many could be at the cusp of stepping up to senior leadership roles.
Part of the reason is that work isn’t structured to enable flexibility to balance their responsibilities in the way they wish. But the other major issue is that society still sees women as holding the primary responsibility for caring and nurturing families.
Unfortunately in Australia, we have been conditioning our children to think and act in accordance with a gender stereotype. We need to learn from the Nordics. We might be looking to the 21st century, but our attitudes in many ways are still engrained in the 1950s without us even noticing. When that changes, so will the prospects for aspiring female leaders across all industries.