Should there be a Business Women's Day?

This week Thursday is International Business Women’s Day, a day to celebrate ladies in the big bad world of business and as one of our outspoken office feminists the team asked me to share my thoughts…

Before I give my opinion I am aware that I am a specific kind of woman in business; I’m yet to marry or have children and so I can’t speak into those situations, but I do plan to marry (the date is set) and a family is high up on my life goals list so this is something that I think about, discuss and debate with my friends, (male and female) and most importantly, care about… so let’s jump in.

Based on current research, we’re looking at a gender pay gap in the UK of 18%, so essentially for every £100 that my male counterparts earn, I earn £82… for the same hours, the same work, the same job. And last year only 23.3% of board positions at large British firms were held by women.

@GraymatterLtd: For every £100 that my male counterparts earn, I earn £82… for the same hours, the same work, the same job.

For me marriage and a family are both things I’m excited for in my future and I know that in the world as it stands that is going to be tough. I’ll need to have a family like I don’t have a career and have a career like I don’t have a family. And if I do decide to reduce my hours or work part time, due to the expense of child care, I could be looked over for pay rises and promotions… so what is the answer?

The moves that the government are taking to make sure larger organisations publish their pay gap figures is a start but the government shouldn’t have to push companies to pay and promote fairly and the new legislations will only mean that large organisations have to publish that gap, they don’t have to actually change it.

For me this change has to come from us, the current and future working generations. We have to teach gender equality in all situations and from the start. We should be teaching our children the importance of following their dreams no matter what they are and most importantly no matter what their gender.

@GraymatterLtd: Change has to come from us #BusinessWomensDay

The business world isn’t something that interests all women, but it doesn’t interest all men either. In many situations we allow girls to become so concerned with their looks and attracting the attention of boys (future husband material) when we should be teaching them the importance of negotiation, or goal setting. We so often stereotype and mould children from the start to be ‘girly’ or to be ‘manly’ instead of giving them the freedom to decide which traits suit them as people.

@GraymatterLtd: The business world doesn't interest all women, but it doesn’t interest all men either.

I’ve always really wanted a career, I was raised by a single mother who worked long hours, who worked hard and who we didn’t always see during the week. I was a nerd at school (and still am) I wanted top grades, I wanted to achieve because I knew the better I could do then, the better I would do later on in life; but it never occurred to me that I could be defined by my genitals…

@GraymatterLtd: I was a nerd at school... It never occurred to me that I could be defined by my genitals... #BusinessWomensDay

I have many traditionally ‘girly’ traits, I’m emotional, I can be sensitive, I’m nurturing and at times I’m very self-critical but I also have a lot of traditionally ‘masculine’ traits as well, I’m independent, quite clumsy and also very cynical. I was referred to as a tom boy growing up, I’ve never been graceful or swanlike but that shouldn’t and hasn’t defined me and my career path so far.

@GraymatterLtd: I have many traditionally ‘girly’ traits and ‘masculine’ traits. That shouldn’t define me and my career path.

Some of my drive and determination will 100% have come from the knowledge that marriage and a husband isn’t the norm for everyone, the understanding that I need to be able to rely on and support myself in business and in life. Essentially I’m the master of my destiny and that is the kind of thinking and independence I want to teach my children, be they male or female.

We have come such a long way from back in the 40’s and particularly in the UK the pay gap continues to decrease but what I hope for in the future is no ‘Business Women’s Day’ (controversial I know…). I want a future where we don’t have to draw attention to a specific group of people due to their gender, ethnicity, sexual preferences, or religious views. I want a future where we praise and congratulate individuals because of their talents and who they are uniquely.

I’m not successful despite my gender. I’m not successful because of my gender. I’m successful because I care, because I’m goal driven, and because I work hard.

@GraymatterLtd: I’m successful because I care, I’m goal driven, I work hard. Not despite or because of my gender #BusinessWomensDay.

I work as part of a team of driven, assertive, passionate people, people for me being the key word. Here’s to International Business People's Day in the future… Who’s with me?!

P.S I’d love to get some feedback and opinions on this on Twitter or LinkedIn. FYI fellas you can and should be feminists too!

Zara Miles | Senior Account Manager | 20th September 2016