Another day, another stupid survey about how women are flawed. The latest one by Leadership Management Australasia sprouts that only one third of the women they surveyed believe women respect other women in the workplace. See women hate each other, want to sabotage each other’s careers and will do anything to undermine their female co-workers. Personally, I don’t know the point of the survey. Why not do a survey about how better to support women into top level management roles? Or how to be a great leader regardless or whether you have a penis or a vagina? Or better still, stop doing useless, meaningless surveys.
I am so bored of people telling me that women are paranoid, self-serving, judgmental bitches. Yes, there are some women who are and when they form packs they can be somewhat mean. Don’t wrong a woman, they can be fierce. And when a woman feels lonely, taken advantage of or left out she can be downright irrational. I can be all of those things. And so can men. Being a cunt is not gender specific.
On the whole, women are anything but what the media so vehemently suggests. The women I’ve encountered throughout my life have been my saviours.
I could count on one hand the women I’ve had the displeasure of working with in a professional capacity who were untrustworthy, game players. It wasn’t a gender trait it was a personality flaw. I have worked with far more women who have supported, helped and guided me throughout my career. People who have also told me when to pull my head in when I needed to, who have walked with their arm around me while I’ve cried, who have toasted pay rises and career highs, who have stood by me at my professional lows and have encouraged me to take risks. And I have done the same for them. We’ve stood at each other’s weddings and held each other’s babies. We’ve been each other’s referees and shared our dreams over many bottles of wine. Smart, capable, gutsy, kind and funny women. To this day I still seek their guidance and friendship.
Then there are the women in my baby group and at the school gate who have shared stories so personal that we have helped pull each other out the depths of parenthood. Advice shared, kids cared for, tears left unspoken and there’s much laughter over the absurdity of kids, partners, bosses, school and the juggle of life. Sometimes there’s tension, differences of opinion, breakaways, but the overall camaraderie of mothers is strong. We have to work together or our children will seek out our weaknesses and eat us.
The online community is also awash with women who I would open my home to. Women, some who I have never met face to face, who have provided me with professional advice in their diverse range of expertise. Women who’ve reached out to me and listened to me sob on the other end of the phone or in blurry Skype chats. Women who have told me deeply private stories on my blog, who inspire me to keep spewing my thoughts onto this site.
When women choose to open up their hearts they make a difference in the lives of others. The online world inspires so many women to share their stories. There’s not always agreement, how shit would that be? A cookie cutter meeting of homogenous ideas would be a glossy woman’s magazine not the real world. Just because you have tits doesn’t mean you have to agree with each other. Robust disagreement and thrashing out of ideological differences should be seen as a gift of instant connection, not abused to shut down differences of opinion. Yet just because you’re a woman doesn’t mean you know how to engage in hearty debate. Many of us, men included, are still floundering in this new world of communication. One thing for sure is women need to keep sharing; just choose your topics wisely, don’t get caught up in the crap. Never silence or self-censor yourself. Fuck ’em if they don’t agree.
Women keep my world ticking along. My professional inspirations. My dearest friends. My family. My mentors. My mum. My girls. Women who have all played major roles in my life and continue to guide, support and challenge me.
I am sick and tired of surveys which keep telling me that women seek every opportunity to tear each other down because from my own experiences they are the first ones there to pull me up when I need it most.
I’ve had significant experiences with women in leadership role in the workplace which have been polar opposites. With one experience the woman was a mentor, role model, brought experience and insight to her role and was someone I looked up to. The other woman was a bitch on legs. She tried her bloody hardest to break me and came very close. The point being you’re going to get both inspirational people and dead set arseholes in the workplace regardless of gender 🙂
This line sums it up perfectly and is quite possibly the best line I have ever read.
“Being a cunt is not gender specific.” – Bianca Wordley.
One day in the future, this quote will be famous. As always, love your work. 🙂
Some interesting gender related works of fiction here i must say!
IMHO girls are taught from a very early age to behave in a certain way. Boys – and men- are regarded as superior because that’s the way the way our institutions – school, mostly – and others teach us to behave.
Consider “it’s ok for a girl to dress as a boy, but for a boy to dress as a girl is degrading. You think it’s degrading to be a girl” (yes, I have been listening to Madonna). Why is that, DYT?
Public schools in Sydney are now making kids aware of homophobia (turns out being gay isn’t a weakness)
But how long will it be before the phrase “you throw like a girl” or “you’re playing (the game) like a bunch of ladies.”
My four old son is venerated, in preference to my daughter – by his grandpa, even by his mother.
It’s a favoritism many generations old. Surveys serve only to perpetuate the problem, agreed.
I’ve just written the gender equity statement/policy/plan for my workplace and it’s been interesting in terms of what’s come up. I work in a science research centre and we have huge issues getting women into senior positions, shedding them at the early and mid-career level (at postgrad the stats are 50/50, but at senior level there are only 10% women). One big study that was done (a peer-reviewed actual piece of research, mind you, rather than a general survey of opinions) showed among other bias studies that when asked to name scientists, both women and men think of men in the field, rather than women. Even if you don’t work in science, besides Marie Curie, can anyone name a woman scientist? Another study took identical resumes but changed the names (male and female) and asked for evaluations on them. The women were consistently ranked lower than equally qualified counter-parts and given lower starting wages – by both women and men who evaluated them. This has trickle down effects for things like promotions, organising the keynotes for conferences, to there being no visible role models for younger generations, all of which keeps even more women out of the field.
It’s sad, but unconscious bias exists (similarly for race and age as well as gender). But until you become aware of it (via research or surveys, etc), you can’t do anything to try to negate it or try to improve it.