International Women’s Day 2018
I was thinking about what to write about this week, and I wanted it to reflect on that fact that 8th March is International Women’s Day – a time for women to celebrate their achievements, and to reflect on the work that still needs to be done.
Inspiration hit me (as it does) at a fairly innocuous moment. I was prepping my lunch for the day and realised that everything I had packed was an item that my partner Tom had either cooked or purchased for us.
That was when it struck. Tom provides me with huge amounts of love and support, and whether he knows this or not, this helps me to be successful in all aspects of my life. I don’t need to be the only one that takes on the responsibility of shopping and cooking. Come to think of it, this also extends to sorting out our washing, and general life admin too, like putting up curtain rails and putting air in my tyres.
I have realised how much he does for me before, and I’m fairly sure I don’t take him for granted, but I think it really hammered home during this sudden moment. I have certainly found myself a keeper, and you can make damn sure I won’t be letting him go!
Don’t get me wrong, I can do all these things too, but when I’m busy sorting out all the things I want to achieve in my life, I’m so grateful that he’s busy helping “behind the scenes”, keeping me sane!
So I thought this post today would be written in honour of the support in our lives. The hidden people behind the greatness. After all, not a single successful person can say that they did it all by themselves. Sooner or later they need support, and although women aren’t always good at asking for it, they certainly benefit from it eventually.
How Else Am I Being Supported?
Thinking about this in more detail, I can find a multitude of ways in which I am being supported in my every day life and career.
My income supports me to live my life, go on holidays, buy things I need, as well as invest and save for the future. Without good money management, that support wouldn’t be there, and I would almost certainly be in a state of stress and anxiety. My training in personal finance has come from the support of books, courses and mentors. Without this, I wouldn’t have a clue!
I have a cleaner who comes to our house every fortnight so our home is kept clean. It reduces arguments because we don’t fight about who is going to clean the toilets or the bath, and it frees up time at the weekend. Not to mention the fact that we’re supporting someone’s business to bring money in to look after their kids.
My ability to work as a doctor was brought about by years of study with some extremely talented male and female doctors, as well as the support of numerous administrators, secretaries, nursing staff and other healthcare professionals. Even now, there are many people involved in my GP education. When I think about the help I’ve had over the years, it makes me feel quite humbled!
My blogging venture has been extremely well supported – I’m part of a number of groups online where I can ask for help or an opinion about something. The positive response I’ve had from people has been so supportive too. It makes all this effort so worthwhile. It has been phenomenal so far, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
At school, my mum and dad made sure that I did my homework and told me that I could become whatever I chose to. They had faith and belief in me and supported me at home while I studied. My teachers encouraged me into medicine, and a careers adviser helped me to work out how to get into medical school. One teacher in particular even helped me stay the course of medical school when I wavered and wanted to quit. She went above and beyond the call of duty!
“Don’t get me wrong, my success has started with my desire to achieve what I have, and I have plenty of internal drive to strive for my future goals, but behind this, alongside this, is my greater network. My support team if you like“
Where Else Are Women in General Supported?
So this got me thinking, where else have I seen evidence of support of women so they can go out and do their thing?
Just last night I was sitting having a business meeting with Catherine – my radio co-presenter for a show we’re starting in April (The Money Mindset Show), while her husband quietly made our dinner in the background. She told me that he planned out all their meals and did the shopping. This was to avoid waste and properly plan for the week ahead.
One of my friends from medical school has a husband who gave up his work to be a full-time house husband. She is now focused on a career in anaesthetics, and I am sure that she will do extremely well. She has the drive and the passion; he has her back.
Certainly women in high powered positions such as Theresa May or Hilary Clinton wouldn’t have got to where they are without the support of vast amounts of people. Whether you love them or loath them, this fact remains.
The #metoo campaign was an example of women supporting each other – coming out in solidarity for a collective cause against sexual harassment. There have been women’s marches across the world in protest of a certain US president coming to power, and women everywhere are doing their bit in society to help us all to prosper.
#PressforProgress is the International Women’s Day theme this year to campaign for gender parity
We have made amazing leaps forward, but we still have plenty of steps to go to achieve the kind of equality and society that we desire.
I firmly believe that women in power can achieve great things, but we still need to keep pushing against the status quo and finding new ways to work and communicate to benefit us all.
Where We Still Have Work To Do
Anecdotally, we know that women tend to be harsher towards each other than men towards women. Why this is I don’t know, but it continues to happen. Work environments that are predominantly female tend to have a reputation for “bitchiness” over more mixed environments. Certainly in my previous career in obstetrics and gynaecology there were elements of this, and was one of the reasons why I left.
Stress and anxiety can certainly be exacerbated by work and unhelpful colleagues. I don’t think we do enough to help ourselves when our emotions are starting to cloud everything we do. If you need support in the form of a mental health professional, don’t be afraid to go out and find it. Being mentally well helps us to be prepared for the work place and to take on the challenges that we face with a clear head.
Recently in the media were two interesting reports on issues relating to money and women – the so-called “gender-pay gap” and the higher cost of items aimed at women (including girl’s toys). We pay more for clothes and toys made for our girls, as well as our own lifestyles – clothes, accessories, makeup. A lot of it perpetuated by a fashion industry and society in general that says we should look and act a certain way to “fit in” and be accepted.
The gender-pay gap highlighted a disparity between the types of jobs women were traditionally finding themselves in, vs those of men who tend to be in higher positions of authority. This means that women on the whole are earning less than men.
This is certainly not an intelligence thing (girls do better than boys in school – this has been well documented). No, what I think is going on is a lack of strong female role models in positions other than “glamour-model” and “reality-star”, and the issue with getting back into work after having children. Lack of help from employers, apathy from a male-dominated government, and extortionate childcare costs means that the women are literally left holding the baby at the sacrifice of their career (unless they have an awesome house-husband like my friend!).
What We Can Do Now
We do better in collaboration. When we work as a team, more can be achieved. No great woman got there on her own – there were certainly others involved. Where I think as women we can make life better for ourselves is where we build each other up rather than tear each other down.
What we focus on expands, and when we’re focusing on jealousy and lack, guess what? We get more of it. There are billions of people on this planet, and there is space for everyone to make a contribution. Scarcity mindset implies that we don’t have enough, and that if one woman succeeds, another must suffer.
This is simply not the case.
So be kinder to each other, support your friends, don’t judge, don’t bitch, sort your money out and be independent.
The world will be a much better place for it I’m sure.
Now over to you – what do you think? Where are you seeing evidence of amazing support for women?
My post is included in the #WomenRockMoney movement and the UK Money Bloggers to inspire women to take action when it comes to their financial literacy. If you enjoyed my post, you may like to take a look at theirs also:
- Maria at The Money Principle has written about the excuses woman have for not investing and how to destroy them.
- Lynn from MrsMummyPenny has written about the women who inspire her.
- Jennifer from Mamafurfur is a mum of boys but has written about what she would teach a daughter about money.
- Jo and Leisa from Joleisa have written about how to demonstrate your financial worth when you’re a stay at home mum.
- Faith from MuchMoreWithLess has written about are you ready to invest?
- Araminta from Financially Mint has written about why finance is a great degree for women.
- Kaya from Earning by the Sea has written about whether MLM empowers or exploits women.
- Cat from Penny Wise, Rich Life has written about empowering women around money.
- Eileen from Your Money, Sorted has written about why we need to talk about money.
- Emma from Mums Savvy Savings has written about how sporty girls are tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.
- Emma from The Money Whisperer has written an open letter to her daughters.
- Hollie from Thrifty Mum has written about top tips for women on how to ask for a pay rise.
Until next time,