Gender. It’s still a healthy debate across many a dinner table, many a boardroom, pub bar, even many a creed. Who really is the best? Is there even a superior sex ?
Boys V Girls. It’s an interesting subject.
“Who runs the world? Girls!!” exclaims Beyonce. But when you really look at that statement, sadly it’s just not really true. Although it has to be said women of status or in power are now definitely on the uprise, let’s break it down, how many world leaders are women in comparison with men? How many world religious figures are female in comparison with men? And how many housewives are there in comparison with men in the same role? Noticeably there are still millions more housewives than world leaders or figures.
Yet if you really think about it, in the UK we have the Queen, the highest female role there could be. We had Maggie Thatcher, who went the highest a MP could ever go, we had Mother Theresa who was revered like a goddess in religion. Who hasn’t heard the old adage “Behind every good man in a good woman”. And I don’t know many people that don’t have the greatest love for the very first female in their life, their mum. What more powerful role is that than reproduction of life? Only a woman can give life to another, yes we need the man too but ultimately it is the woman who reproduces the life. Without her as the vessel there would be no life.
I can definitely say the volume of women in business has increased dramatically over the years with women very much catching up with men nowadays. My generation onwards has seen ever increasing numbers of single parents, mainly mothers, so their role in the home place has been changed by need as much as want I would say. Gone are the days of the “male” provider and the women at home playing a ‘Stepford-wife’ role. I can certainly say in my house no man has ever come home to find his dinner cooked and cupcakes baking while the children play like angels. No, more likely you’ll find a mum dashing home through traffic to collect their kids before play-centre ends, remembering to stop at Tesco for those bits they need for dinner or kids packed lunches. Quickly cleaning, cooking, washing clothes, bathing and putting the kids to bed before, ooh, maybe about 10pm. Then they might get time to sit down, if they’re really lucky.
Some women have 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet or work around the kids timetables. Most blokes, let’s be honest here, either have a ‘Mrs’ at home who does all that for them, or a mum or girlfriend/partner etc. I’m 41 nearly and although again, single male parents are on the uprise; it is still mostly women left with the kids and the day to day costs of maintaining them. I may be career driven but I know a lot of women who would gladly lessen their working load, even delete it, if they had support and financial security. So yes, I think need has driven more women into the workplace and then they have been able to display what brilliant human beings they are. Multi-tasking and organisational abilities; logical thinking skills; quick decision making skills. These are all the skills of the average woman with children. Skills they use every day at home for free! So imagine what happens when these skills are utilised, appreciated & encouraged and paid for!! The demand for a strong woman, or women in the workforce is growing. Be it factories full of women sewing, or dinner ladies, women’s roles can come in almost army form in a work place sometimes; Even most male directors rely on their female PA’s to organise their whole lives!
“I don’t mind living in a man’s world, as long as I can be a woman in it”
Women are now definitely progressing, dare I say it, may soon surpass men in the workplace. We have loads of strong celebrity leading women that are a force to be reckoned with from the likes of Karen Brady, female genius equivalent of Alan Sugar to Katie Price, who although constantly knocked for “using what she’s got”, is actually one of the most astute business women I know. She once said on her show “ All of this”, pointing to her chest & body area, “all of this, got me all of this”. And she stretched her arms wide open on the staircase of her house. Fair play to her I say. She knows what she’s good at and she’s become a female icon in the making. Madonna, Annie Lennox, Sophia Loren, Marilyn, Maya Angelou, Cheryl Cole, even bloody Tulisa. Strong women are everywhere. And we’re just not being quiet anymore. Blame the Spice Girls I say. We’re saying “Errr no actually I can do that by myself …and I can do it better”.
Maybe it’s because we have an empathic side; the emotional side a woman has; maybe some may say we use our assets to get what we want; maybe it’s a lot of things. But things are definitely changing & I for one am delighted.
Working in my line of work (Security and close protection) is a 99% all male environment. Only the other day I visited a Client and was the only female director subcontractor among about 15 other companies representing. Normally I have someone with me but this time I was on my own. I watched as everyone came in & sat opposite me at first. Felt like I was facing a firing squad. Although among my clients I am very much respected and treated fairly (most of the time), among my competitors it’s a different story. They look at me as though I have no right to be there; like my input and opinion isn’t worthy etc. The joke of the matter is that mine was the only company to have everything the client required and I had more knowledge than anyone else round the table about the subject matter. In fact the client even drew reference to that fact; shutting the caveman next to me right up which did amuse me greatly
Men have accused me of sleeping with people for contracts; they have tried to bully me out of contracts, literally I hasten to add; they have come at me with weapons when angered, they’ve not paid their bills saying “what you gonna do?”; I could go on. Do I complain because I’m a girl ? No. Of course males in my industry are going to hate me. I expect it. I had the balls to get up and go for it and I did it very well, most of them are too scared to leave their salary safety-net to even try. Scared of their salaries and their wives should I say. I’ll let you all into a trade secret here. Any security you see who is a ‘bully-esque’ idiot, we call them a peacock. All bicep and badge but zero sense. Anyway most peacocks are right under the thumb at home so they come to work and give it the large. So next time you get any grief off one, have a smile to yourself and image their Mrs nagging their ears off instead. Trust me its true .
Anyway, it’s taken me years to become respected in my game as a Director of any substance. We’ve been established nearly 5 years and all our growth has been organic; which basically means we’ve done a good job so clients increased our workloads, we’ve turned over almost £2 million and are a well respected organisation now across the industry. This in turn has led to my respect across the work front. I am very good at my job and I try my hardest to ensure we provide a consistently good service. That’s the key. The fact I am a female isn’t even part of it for me. There is no discrimination in my world. We all work as one team. I would have no company without my 90% male workforce and my all male clientele. And that is a stark and still quite saddening fact.
So in conclusion to this months debate .. Barbie V Action Man ? I conclude by saying I personally think both genders need each other. For a multitude of different reasons, each individual. We all need the other gender at some time and for some purpose.
But in my own personal world though, Barbie ROCKS !
Krista Brown, MD of Persona HR