I love this photo and would love to claim that it was me as a kid. But honestly, I feel like this girl and want to flip the bird when I see and hear the ridiculous advice still being given to women.
Don’t Wear Dangly Earrings
Many moons ago I recall reading in a magazine advice column “you can’t wear dangly earrings to work if you want to be taken seriously.” I diligently followed that advice and suppressed my love affair with dangly earrings for decades! Oh dear. I wear dangly earrings with pride every day now!
What about all those magazine articles that are about “how to wear various clothing articles and shoes that are really just torture devices in disguise“? Why did I get suckered into wearing high heels for 30 years that have wrecked my feet and knees? There’s a fairly strong link to high heels and dubious fashion advice when you consider you are NOT allowed to wear them when evacuating a plane. In 2016, global consulting firm PWC got into lots of trouble when it sent a receptionist home because she did not have high heels on in the office. Should they have checked that her corset was appropriately laced as well?
Women Are Bombarded By Ridiculous Advice
You know, what makes me madder is that its 2017, and women are still being bombarded by ridiculous advice. Don’t take my word for it, have a look at these magazine covers from 2017!
Don’t get me wrong. I adore wearing makeup, getting my hair done, having and wearing nice clothes. But here’s the thing. To afford nice makeup, nice hair, nice clothes and all the good things in life, you have to have money. And women are increasingly NOT ending up with enough money in their later years because the advice they’re bombarded with at best incomplete, at worst ridiculous!
Women Must Get Better Advice
I wonder what would happen if there were images and advice columns in women’s magazines educating girls and women in person, online and in magazines about money, power and influence, right from the get go? I wonder how different life would be for women if they had received advice about how to ensure they always have choices in life. Great career advice, great business advice, great money advice, great leadership advice.
Whilst this article is about women, career and money, there is also a significant link to the advice women receive via magazines, TV and social media that has devastating impact on body image and self-worth. For more information, please check Taryn Brumfitt out, the founder of The Body Image Movement and maker of the documentary Embrace.
If you have persevered and read to here you will no doubt be thinking that I am angry. You are right. I am angry, frustrated, bewildered and some days, bloody well sad. Why? Because I spend a lot of my time with women of all ages and stages who are still being told what to do in line with societal gendered stereotypes and expectations. They are still receiving incomplete and potentially damaging advice.
Women Are Leaving
Women are leaving the corporate workforce in droves to start their own enterprises (yes I am one of them) which is great, but also has serious implications for long-term financial wellbeing.
I finally left the corporate workforce nearly a year ago and now spend 150% (not a typo) of my time speaking, teaching and facilitating to help women build their business intelligence skills. Despite my deep knowledge about the current state of play for women in the workforce, I am still shocked at how few women are getting sound career advice, access to good business skill building activities and as a result, are becoming mired in the middle of organisations.
I Want Women to Advance
Because I am all about action, not sitting back and admiring the problem, I’ve developed The Advancing Women Formula my 6 module female leadership program that enables women to build their EQ (emotional intelligence) IQ (business intelligence) and SQ (social intelligence) skills so they can become the corporate leaders, entrepreneurs and policy makers of the (near) future. I want more women from all walks of life occupying leadership roles in corporations, in government, in academia, in sport and in boards. I want that to happen now, not in 2186 when gender equality is expected to be achieved.
What Can I Do?
Men and women, if you would like to take action, here is some GOOD advice:
Leaders Must Ask:
Lots of questions to understand why its important to give women better advice! e.g.:
- What are the current numbers of women at all levels in my organisation?
- Where does the leadership gender gap begin to widen?
- Why does it widen?
- What is it like to work here for women?
- What do the women in my organisation really need?
I’ll sign off now with a feisty flip of the bird to all of those that hold women back and a high-five to those who are joining me in advancing women!
Contact me if you want a workplace program that gives women GREAT advice or if you need me to design or accelerate your gender diversity action plan.