For my latest guest post I’ve asked the very talented Lianne Dupre, the operations director and one half of the very talented partnership over at LNDK ltd. to expand on a recent blog post of hers I read recently. It was a fascinating insight into a new subject for me, the issue of whether woman are actually other women’s biggest competitors in the world go business.
Lianne covers any number of subjects in the world of business in her blogs and er.. shoes! Yes, shoes, click through the links for Lianne and her partner Nicola over at LNDK Ltd and find out exactly what they can do for you.
Anyway, over to Lianne..
March the 8th is International Women’s Day and it got me thinking about the changes we must have been through in the last 50 years but are all those changes for the better?
Does equality exist? Are opportunities truly equal?
In a recent blog I wrote (Woman V’s Woman) I discussed the possibility that women were our own worst enemies, that we pressure ourselves daily to achieve an almost superhuman level of perfection both at work and at home. That blog provoked a lot of response, one of which was specifically to a remark that I had made “when I think back to some of the most unpleasant people I have worked with, most of them are female.” Strangely, I received no objections to this statement, only agreement and disappointment.
I was the Head of HR and Finance for a construction company which was hugely dominated by men and indeed I often was treated like the secretary by men who came for a meeting, only when they found out that I was the decision maker who held the purse strings did they try and adapt their approach. I also have been in meetings with male colleagues where the visitor has talked directly to them the whole way through, only to find out that I was the superior.
However, despite these inexcusable assumptions that I have been on the receiving end of, by and large most of the males I have reported to or managed have had very little issue with my gender as soon as my professional credentials were proved.
This unfortunately, has not been my experience with female employers or employees. I worked for one female who constantly had me prepare documents then when presented to the board, would remove my name and replace it with hers. I have been asked at an interview about my plans for children by a female interviewer. When my daughter was taken poorly and I needed to collect her from school, it was the fellow female colleagues that would tut and the males were fine about it.
All of this makes me question, does sisterhood exist in the work place?
On writing this blog, I decided to look at my current client database and have realised that my clients are overwhelmingly male. I then considered the support and mentorship I have received within my own business and realised that without exception, they are all male.
Now, this may be partly my personality as I have brothers and am comfortable being around males or it may be how I have marketed myself and my business. It’s true that I have steered away from women only networking events, this is for a few reasons but predominantly it is because I do not want to exclude any potential clients and attending women only events would massively limit my exposure to market.
However, I have then asked around some other female business contacts to ask them the same questions. Ones within a similar industry seemed to have the same experience as me.
So are we letting each other down? Why am I not selling to females as much as males? Is the opposite sex easier to sell to? One question which has bothered me the most is, why am I not mentoring any females?
I strongly believe that we have fought so hard for equality that we have lost sight of what makes us different. Males and females have different strengths and attributes, we should not reject these, we should embrace them.
So on International Women’s Day, I am going to make one pledge: ‘to ensure that I work with more females’. How about you?
Lianne Dupre is Operations Director at LNDK Ltd which offer business consultancy and business events, with a strong background in HR and Accountancy, she now uses her skills helping other business owners. She is mum to an 11 year old and is madly obsessed with shoes!