Happy International Women's Day! Today we celebrate achievements of women around the world. My name is Taylor and I am a 16 year old digital marketing apprentice here at The Mortgage Stop, I had the opportunity to interview three remarkable women from different age groups to learn more about their experiences and perspectives.
I spoke with my boss Rita, a mortgage adviser who runs her own business, my colleague Debbie, a trainee mortgage adviser who previously worked in a corporate background, and Mary, an 85 year old former business owner with a lifetime of wisdom. Together, these women represent a diverse array of experiences and perspectives, united by their resilience, determination, and passion for making a difference.
In this article, we'll learn the struggles they had as women in the working world on this important day of recognition and reflection as well as hearing my spin on things as a young women new to the workplace. Read the interview below as we celebrate the achievements of women everywhere and inspire the next generation of young women like myself.
What are the main challenges for female leaders?
The main things are that perception, that unbiased conscious of “She’s not gonna do the job well enough because she’s part time and she’s got kids to pick up and errands to run.”. But actually what goes on behind the scenes, us as females know how much harder we work to prove ourselves because we want to show that we can do it all.
I think it’s really important that you have good experience in the area that you are trying to lead. It is important that you earn the respect of the team and the people around you, recognize that everyone is different and as a women it is probably really important that you can be very resilient in the workplace.
I think not being taken as seriously as their male colleagues and having to prove themselves more.
There are challenges for all businesses. But particularly the hard and long working time. And particularly if your alone you have everything to do. It’s not shared.
How have you seen attitudes towards women in the workplace change during your career?
I think a lot more respect has developed because more and more men are taking time off to look after children and the roles and dynamics have changed. It is not always the women that stays at home and now it is just the case of if you can do a good enough job then you do get the same level of respect because it is becoming more visual in the workplace and also out in the media as well which really helps.
When I first started my career, which was a fair few years ago, I certainly wasn’t aware of the bias between male and female. I felt we were very much treated the same. However, when I started going up the career ladder and looking after a team I was very aware that women were perhaps treated differently especially if they wanted to start a family or were just happy to sit in the same role. To the extent that now I do see women being tutored and mentored to help them reach their potential and more flexibility in the workplace to help better work life balance.
How have you seen attitudes towards girls change throughout school?
I think as you get older throughout school the double standards become more clear, for example if a boy is confident and outgoing he is seen as funny and people admire him whereas if you’re a girl you are seen as annoying and often described as too loud.
So do you think there are double standards at school?
I do and I think it depends on your teachers and peers and if they have a bias towards women and whether they realise they have a bias towards women or not. I think you can especially see this in sports at school.
I think women are slightly women obsessed and they think that they are discriminated against in a way that I don’t necessarily see it. I think any women can do anything, all she needs to do is just be focused and get on and do it. But I think nowadays they tend to feel discriminated against and its uttered and the more you utter it, it exacerbates it.
What advice would you give to young women like me who are just starting their careers?
I would say don’t let anyone stop your dreams, whatever your aspirations are, they’re your dreams and you may not get there straight away but always work with positive energy and positive people around you and don’t throw away any advice that anyone gives you. You will have a journey, follow that journey even though it is not quite the path that you thought it was. It will all lead to your dream and take that on as experience and knowledge to get you to where you need to be.
There is a really important piece of advice that I would give you. And that is that you have a network around you whether that is your family or your friends or your colleagues. Use your network. Develop your network as much as you can, seek advice from it, talk to them. They will get you known around an industry and they might even get you a job.
Great advice from some amazing women!
Just have a vision. Be prepared to alter it slightly. Just keep going forwards. Onwards and upwards. There is only one way and that is up.