I’VE been astounded in recent months with the near-constant media coverage of women and their complaints about how tough life is.
Probably not PC for me to raise this, but I can’t help wondering why it is they feel whining about their lot—at home, in business, socially, and in life generally—is the only way they can improve it?
Now, let’s be clear. I’m not talking about the issues relating to Harvey Weinstein and several others involved in sexual abuse allegations. If proven to be true, they deserve everything coming to them for such appalling behavior. Though, as has been argued in the ensuing fallout, the line between what’s considered acceptable ‘flirting’ and what’s not is now extremely blurred.
However, I do frequently hear on the radio or read in my newsfeed about women who seem to feel they’ve been forced onto their collective back foot when it comes to positioning themselves in society today.
Admittedly, I’m a Baby Boomer. I went through my teens in the 1960’s; a revolutionary time of great change, featuring flower-power, mods and rockers, Mary Quant and Vivienne Westwood. We were full of ourselves, fashion and freedom—allowing us to live life to the full! We worked hard and we played hard. And I’m sure there are many people my age who wouldn’t disagree with the fact we sometimes had to accept the consequences of our actions.
But that didn’t involve crying out to the world-at-large. Not least because, back then, we couldn’t. There was no-one to complain to. No social media, no court recognition (sexual harassment as a concept didn’t emerge ’til the 1970’s), and a greater sense of personal privacy. We simply didn’t want our names and faces splashed all over the papers. So we kept quiet and dealt with it.
In most instances—and I’m not talking about criminal offences such as rape which, of course, would have been handled by the police—we felt equipped and empowered to handle it ourselves. Harassment or unwanted attention, either in the workplace or a social setting, happened. And often. But, in most cases, we’d fend the perpetrator off.
I’m not saying that type of behaviour is acceptable. Of course not. But if women want to stand alongside men in terms of equality, they must surely accept that they have to stand up for themselves, sometimes in difficult circumstances.
Likewise, while I can see many good reasons why a woman should be paid the exact same salary as a man when doing an identical job, is it always that simple?
In my teens I worked extremely hard—not always doing a job I enjoyed—until I eventually found my niche. However, in those days we were paid based on age and experience—and if you felt you deserved more, it was up to you to negotiate a raise with your boss.
Why is it now women in the workplace feel they have an automatic right to be paid the same as their male counterparts? It’s not about gender. It’s about who is best qualified to do a job—and who actually does it best, offering tangible value and worth.
As an employer myself for many years, we paid based on age, experience, and any additional skills or talents an applicant had which made him or her a greater fit for the job on offer. Gender was irrelevant. The salary and conditions of employment were discussed and agreed upon at interview, before any offer. And if the candidate didn’t agree, they didn’t take the job.
I find it sad that women today are continually complaining. But, in reality, do they have a point? Are things really that bad or are those complaints justified?
Many have chosen to pursue careers while also raising a family, running a home, and trying to shoehorn in some kind of social life. Meanwhile, some mums have assumed true superhero status in doing all this solo as single parents.
In my view, it’s simply too much. And, as a consequence, we have a generation of mothers permanently stressed-out and struggling to keep all their plates spinning. All- too-often this leads to cases of depression and anxiety—negatively impacting both the mums and their families.
As a species, humans weren’t designed to be super-beings. However, society has led us down a path where women now feel they have to be. In reality, of course, we don’t.
Women are naturally able to multi-task. Making us, in my view, the stronger of the species. Not physically, of course. But in every other way. The problem is: we don’t believe it! And this feeling is further enhanced by the incessant media-griping—which, if anything, is actually undermining our status in society.
Life is tough, but you have to take the rough with the smooth. And if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
The opportunities for women today are endless. And a world away from the one I grew up in.
But the key is self-belief. We have to believe we deserve the best in life—and make the smart choices and decisions to take us there. That includes fighting our corner when necessary, and refusing to assume a victim’s mentality when things get spicy.
Remember, life is for living. And we have the power!
’Til next time,