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A Reflection on International Women’s Day.
We celebrated International Women’s day at work this month and actually it made me think, so much so I have written this blog.
As part of the ‘Women’s Day Lunch’ at the agency, Dan (server-side developer at Sagittarius) inspired me by talking about being a female developer and her views of equality. Code is code, regardless of gender.
Women's day...what does it mean to me as an employee and as a mother?
When you are pregnant or when you have a newborn baby, you remember the joy of work, wearing nice work clothes, buying a Starbucks and talking about adult things that remind you of life pre-child.
I went back to work part-time when my son was 4 months old and it was fine. It turns out that newborns are easier than toddlers in hindsight.
I grew up in the '90s with the spice girls, TLC & destiny’s child, a child of the ‘girl power’ generation. As I grew up, I had to explain to my lovely parents that one day it will work out, I didn't want to work my way up in a job for 30 years that I hate (like my dad). I didn't know if that would be true, but it all worked out in the end.
My career was always number 1, I think I even stayed single for much of my 20’s as I was too exhausted to be able to put the same effort into my love life that I did for work!
Having a child has changed all this and for the better. I now have a 4YO son who is the apple of my eye. He is loving, affectionate and sassy in equal measures.
My family is number 1, that is how it should be. My son has special educational needs and attends school part-time, so needs me even more than most, he needs me to support him, teach him and fight for him in an underfunded educational system.
I am a mother, but I am also an independent woman who has worked hard in my career. I don't have to be both people, it is who I am.
Someone somewhere once said. “At the end of your life, the only things you will regret is not spending enough time with your family and not looking after your health”. It is important to care about what you do, but work isn't your life. My health is next on my list!
Women in business shouldn't have to hide this, hide our families or our priorities. There are so many benefits to companies supporting working parents.
Our experience as mothers gives us something extra. The late nights, a new level of openness. We don't have time to wait around or be subtle if something isn't working or needs to change, we are on it. If we need to leave at bang on 5 to collect our children then we will, but we will be better at planning our time and be more efficient. Work gets done, so don't question when or how.
We plan our day to work around our needs, we plan and own the diaries to avoid having to choose between a parents interview and a meeting 100 miles away.
We work after 7 when our kids are in bed, so we are present when our kids are awake. We work on Sunday nights whilst watching call the midwife because we don't mind multitasking. We don't bang on about overtime, because we do what we need to do.
We teach our kids how to use laptops, PowerPoint and excel because we can! Even more so when mummy works in digital marketing. Our weekends are full and over planned, we avoid nights out because there is no time for hangovers and a child who wakes at 5:45 every day.
I make sure my son knows that mummy works hard, pays 50% of everything and decisions are not just daddy's because the world has changed. I am slightly sad I didn't have a daughter because I think this would mean more to her, but I also want my son to respect equality. I want him to find someone one day based on love not need.
My son asked if I was the 'Sir' at work the other day and I can only assume he meant the boss. He is in a school full of women in power and still this is how he perceives the world.
10 years ago, I worked for an IT company where promotions were made on the golf course and women worked in accounts or marketing whilst side-lining as tea ladies to guests. I think the world is better now, in the agency world anyway!
Equality will come one day, but it needs parents, education, media & employers to keep on driving it together. It is not an equality tick box exercise it should just be the best person for the job.