“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”
Often believed to be quoted by Mandela, it was actually written by a woman poet, Marianne Williamson. Another overlooked woman.
Why do women value themselves so little? Why do they think they’re not competent to be on boards, to be running the country?
One woman did. Australia’s PM Julia Gillard. “ditch the bxxxx” The Honourable Mary Delahunty said that this treatment of Gilliard brought the office of Prime Minister into disrepute. Gillard’s parting words
“It will be easier for the next woman Prime Minister, and the next. And I’m proud of that.”
We can take heart from the large number of female premiers in Africa and South America. Some like Michelle Bachelet and Mary Robinson, the very pattern of women, not just capable of standing on the world stage, but holding numerous roles in world politics.
So who do you think you are? Do you truly value and appreciate your skills and achievements or do you take them for granted?
As Dame Anne Owers said in her interview with me:
“My most surprising event was when I realized that actually people thought of me as a role model, when I felt I was chuntering along, getting it not quite right. What I wish I’d known earlier is that we (women) never think that we get it quite right. I have a friend, a quite senior legal figure, highly thought of, and she said, “I always think that tomorrow will be the day that they find me out”. I have never heard a senior male legal figure say that. I am sure they think it but they never say it.”
This week see yourself as a person of worth, good enough to hold the highest position you ever aim for. Believe it and share it. Austerity has apparently lead to more and more women setting in business.
If you see yourself as a successful business woman in the tough world of startups, would you see yourself as having the qualities necessary to be in top management? Would you see yourself on a board? All businesses need diversity, a greater balance not just of women, but black and ethnic groups, etc, and the surveys and research show that the greater the gender diversity, the more successful the business. Based on the views of 849 directors who serve on 105 boards. GenderWorx. You won’t read it in the British press.
The current culture we live in denigrates women who are capable, competent, and creative. The Evening Standard ran an article called Golden Skirts, which looked at the top UK business women, and discovered that, if not born abroad they’d been educated in the States or elsewhere, where women’s achievement is valued and promoted.
It is always implicitly assumed, that men are best suited to run the country, Parliament, the Legal system, the Economy. The banking fiasco has surely shown that new blood, new attitudes are needed. As the International Finance Minister said, more Lehman sisters, and how she came to be elected to a vacancy is interesting reading in itself.
Wake up women. Britain needs you. There is a looking back to the past, to the War, to the Festival of Britain, to British music, harking back to a time when women knew their place. If there ever was such a time.
We have at least one role model and inspirational woman in Ruby McGregor Smith. A woman who has successfully run several businesses, and who was chosen to lead the Government Commission on increasing the numbers of women in business.
Although Lord Davies is the Minster who called for more women on boards, when he recently joined the board at Chime there still are no women on it. Karren Brady:
‘If you don’t have a woman on your board, write to your shareholders and explain why’
Ruby McGregor-Smith’s report is recently released, and she intends to follow through with more women in business across the board. Any history will show that progress is not just slow, it is actually regressing. 300 women in Parliament, back in the 80s, but in strong positions now, very few indeed.
Our new Financial Ombudsman: In several interviews this paragraph is omitted and replaced with her killer heels. Something to ponder on, as is the parenthesis.
Natialie Ceeney who is married and has no children, has joined the steering committee of The Two Percent Club, a national organization designed to improve female representation at all levels of UK business.
‘We are 50/50 at the Ombudsman Service at every level in our organization, from the board to the exec downwards. So there’s a little bit of me that wonders why everyone thinks this is so hard,’
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