Shattering the glass ceiling - Lancashire Business View

Shattering the glass ceiling - Lancashire Business View


Shattering the glass ceiling - Lancashire Business View

Posted: 31 Mar 2020 12:44 AM PDT

You've only got to look at male suicide rates to know there are a lot of men out there struggling. How many blokes ask for help if they need it? How many will actually speak up? We will. As women, we'll stand there and go, 'Do you know what? I'm having a really bad day today.' I'm in a WhatsApp group of businesswomen and we use that as kind of vent. How many men can say the same? We're actually better at asking for support than they are.

SK: There is a confidence issue with a lot of women. Particularly for women who might have taken a career break to have children, it can be a daunting prospect to go back into the big, wild world of work. A support mechanism can help, because sometimes all that's needed is that little boost.

JB: I worked in a very male-dominated business and if you asked for help it was a weakness.

I was the chair of 'women in leadership'. We invited men to join us as 'man-bassadors'. These were men who could be a mentor and give support.

We have to acknowledge that the business world is very male-dominated and sometimes we need to get men on our side to help us. It's not a weakness, it's just the real world.

JP: As an employer we've got a responsibility to make sure that we're having the right conversations in our businesses. I can think of at least one really great woman manager who absolutely should be putting herself forward for promotion, but we need to convince her she can do the job.

CH: You can't put a value on confidence, women having more confidence about themselves, that they're doing the right thing, that people are going to take them seriously.

LTr: We need to build people's confidence in school. That's surely going to make a difference when they get to the point where they want to start their own business or be directors. If as a child you feel empowered and believe in yourself, then you're more likely to when you grow up.

DP: We still have girl jobs and boy jobs, and it shouldn't really be about that. The world of work should be open to everybody.

If you're in a group of women and you're the only one who's a business owner, you're not going to start talking about your business, because the other people around the table aren't going to be able to relate to that. It's about creating those spaces for women to be able to talk about businesses, but also for it to become normal.

GH: I'm in the food industry and I would say the split is more 50/50. I can't see any difference between men and women, but I can see a difference between what we call 'colours'.

We do personality mapping with colours, so if you're a 'blue' or a 'red 'colour, or a 'yellow' or 'green' predominantly, you'll have a preference to work in a certain way and what we look for is a balanced team.

It doesn't matter if it's half men and half women, but it does matter if it's got some blue, yellow, green and red in it, because then you'll get the best outcome.

We invest an awful lot in personal development because don't want to imbalance a team in terms of styles. I don't want them all to be drivers or all to be a 'detail person'.

JP: The more balance and diversity you get in that team, the better your business will be and the better the decisions you will make.

SO: You don't get a lot of women going to the pub with their colleagues, because they've got to go home to their kids. Even though we've come a long way, in terms of female empowerment and equal rights for women in work, at home we haven't. My husband is very supportive, but I'm the one that does the shopping and ironing and sorts all that stuff.

What type of leadership do we need to see in terms of creating real change?

GH: Leadership is about being the change that you want to see, so you have to make it visible that it's okay to invest in, for example, wellbeing. If I'm not going to show that I've got a coach or a counsellor, then it's not highlighting that it's okay for other people to take time out of their day, to do whatever it is that invests in their personal wellbeing.

SK: It's creating an environment where people feel they can come forward to talk if they're having any issues.

It's about women who get to a menopausal age knowing they can talk about how they're feeling and be able to say, 'Sorry, I didn't have a good night. I'm having an off day, I'm going to work from home today,' without any fear of recriminations.

That's a leadership thing, a cultural change and employers have that responsibility. The world is changing, but not fast enough for me.

LT: We need think about ensuring that we've got those key support mechanisms in place for the trials and tribulations of a female's life.

SO: The menopause happened for me when I was 48-ish. I honestly thought I was going mad, that I was getting Alzheimer's. If I had to go in a room and talk effectively about data, I'd just have blanks. I sat at my dressing table one morning because I had to drive to Sheffield, I went every week stayed overnight, and I cried because I had to go. I didn't know what it was. As women, as society, we just don't talk about it. There's not enough knowledge about it.

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