The theme this year is ‘balance for better’. And they’d love you to join the campaign with your own photos of balance. Here’s my shot - taking my lunchtime break for 2 necessities: a doggie ‘comfort break’ and to stretch the spine most of us are overworking from desk jobs.
When I got back to the office, we debated which aspect of gender equality was most in need of ‘balance’ (ok all of it, but if you had to pick one thing). We talked about the ups and downs of running as a couple or a larger family and how that impacted breadwinning; a topic more relevant today than ever but still frustratingly taboo. When I wrote Female Breadwinners, this was the first piece I’d ever penned in which the women didn’t want to be named or even recognisable. However, I think there’s a lot of pride in being a major financial contributor to your household.
So this year we’ll be focusing on removing some of that stigma for IWD this year.
You can get involved by:
Following the #balancedbreadwinning hashtag on Twitter
Watching and sharing this video...
I love books, I read them and I can bore the bits off anyone talking about them! Maybe like you? Whether they are fiction and non-fiction, current best-sellers or the classics, I love them all. I do have a particular soft spot for historical fiction. I’m partial to Margaret George, Tracey Chevalier and Jung Chang to just get started. I want anything that helps me understand and empathise with a fascinating time period through what life must have been like for its people and particularly the people history books often forget or misrepresents - women. Give me a 100 historical novels over 1 textbook, any day!
So, to get you in the mood for upcoming Women’s History Month, I wanted to share my ‘Book Recommendations for Women in History” … although I must confess, none of these have been in the bestseller list in the last few years. Hope you enjoy.
Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
You couldn’t get more office politics in a book if you tried! Though you know from your history lessons and watching Elizabeth Taylor, that all does not end well for Cleopatra, you will be gripped until the very end. Told in novel form, this biography shows Cleopatra as the ultimate business woman. She was able to use charm but also straightforward asset management with such aplomb she was able to turn the deteriorating and bankrupt dynasty she inherited into a prosperous civilisation that continues to fascinate us today. She could eat the Dragons’ Den for breakfast!
The Red Tent by Anita Diamont
This was a NY Times bestseller and it’s not hard to see why. The book reads as if the bible elaborated on the details of women’s lives the way it does men. The story focuses on Dinah, who in the Bible is a virtual afterthought as the daughter of Jacob. Here she gets her own very rich and dramatic story regarding her life and those of her ‘mothers’ (co-wives to Jacob). This is a perfect read for any woman like me, curious about what the Bible missed out in not telling the truth about women’s lives.
The Road from Coorain by Jill Kerr Conway
This memoir looks at the life of a young girl born in the harsh Australian outback who went on to become the first female President of the esteemed women’s university, Smith College, in the United States. Being born in Alice Springs, Australia myself the book had extra resonance for me personally. However, I’d recommend it for any woman who believes in quiet ambition and the transformative power of a childhood love of books.
Mary Reibey: From Convict to First Lady of Trade by Kathleen Pullan*
When I was in Sydney a few years ago, I took a guided tour of the Rocks area. Our guide pulled out a much crumpled $20 note to highlight what I had assumed was a man - but was actually one of the most important women in Australian history. I've often noticed that portraits of formidable women are often not flattering, like Harriet Tubman or even Cleopatra, as history is written by the winners. But I digress. Back to Mary, she was exported from England to Australia in 1777 as a 13 year old when she was caught stealing a neighbour's horse while dressed up as a boy.. Fast forward, and she worked her time, eventually married a navy lieutenant and set up a trading store. But it was only when he died and left her with over half a dozen children that things began to get interesting...as she grew the business to such an extent that she became one of the founders of the Bank of New South Wales. What an amazing woman! I was only dismayed it took me several attempts to find the 1975 book, eventually discovering it in a used book shop - which are my favourite places to hang out in anyway. This life story reads like a novel - and is inspiration to anyone who has made a few bad choices (haven't we all) that they can still go on to great things!
*We’ve got no link for this one, you’ll need to get rummaging in your local charity shop… and you must drop us a note if you find a copy telling us where you found it!
Getting men to engage and become advocates for gender balance can be difficult. In order to create that inclusive and diverse workforce that we're all striving for, we recommend both a carrot AND a stick. This video will explain why.
This is one of the most commonly questions I get when speaking about gender equality- most often by men, but normally by people who assume that women who ‘want top jobs’ behave the same way as men who want top jobs. But for most women I know, the politicking, the self-promotion, the ‘mine is bigger than yours’ mentality doesn’t fit. How do we know women want top jobs? Because they spend their time focused on getting their jobs done often to the detriment of the politicking etc. Plus research by Boston Consulting Group shows women have ambition that equals men, but how that gets fostered depends on company culture. Similarly, other research from Centre for Talent Innovation has found ethnic minority women are actually more ambitious than white women. But no matter the research, it's dismaying so many people believe that women simply don't want to be in leadership positions. So if you find yourself in the middle of this debate, here’s two ways to answer that question:
As we start 2019, we're starting fresh with a new brand as well as more video based services for our clients. Our existing branding has been going strong for 5 years, but with the launch of our new Pathway to Promotions Coaching Programme we thought it was a great opportunity to refresh the brand and get things more inline with what we do.
So Why the ReBrand?
Our CEO and founder, Dr Doyle-Morris, has 25 years experience working gender based issues, from her first degree in Women's Studies and Psychology to her University of Cambridge PhD on gender equality - and all her consulting to FTSE100 companies over the last 15+years. Suzanne is an author of two books, presents across the world on these issues and has helped thousands of women get the careers they want.
Couple these stats with the fact that our mission is to help the world of business be a more inclusive place. So as you might have already guessed… Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris IS our brand. Which is why she gets her name up there in lights. It's her expertise and presenting style people wanted - so we're giving it to them in spades!
It was important for us, moving forward, to make sure people knew that Suzanne is leading our organisation from the front, and when you work with Inclusiq, you’re working with (and getting all of her years of experience) Dr Suzanne Doyle-Morris.
Hence the new brand - hope you like it, as nothing says 'knows her mind' as a well as a slash of red and cheeky bit of leopard print.
What 2019 holds in store for InclusIQ
If you’re interested in any of the above, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
For the latest in career strategy for women working in male dominated fields (and the companies that want to keep them!) sign up to our newsletter
Suzanne Doyle-Morris, Author, Speaker & Gender Balance Expert for 25+ years.
Hear what I told BBC Radio about what to do about the worsening gender pay gap data