Women have made progress in the new millennium. They are running countries, new media monoliths, major banks and even the ultimate bastion of machismo The Met. But when you scratch beneath the surface – or look at the average working women ‘having it all’ you have to ask at what cost?
To get to the top, some women have channeled male energies, often working family un-friendly hours or have that symbol of the oh-so modern women – a stay at home husband. They have worked the system and made a success of it by playing within the rules of the existing framework.
Then there are the women who have found the journey to the top too difficult. They have dropped out, resulting in the eponymous ‘brain drain’ documented in Sandberg’s @LeanIn.
On the upside things are changing, but arguably it is too slow and only in pockets. it is easy to talk about the growing trend for WFH (working from home) and flexible working from the relative female focused bubble of the media/marketing industry but what about those who work in the financial services or law or low paid manual employment?
Women make up 47% of the UK workforce and 57% of 1st degree graduates are women. Getting women in the workforce isn’t the problem it is building the framework to keep them.
In the meantime women are taking things into their own hands. If you can’t beat the system .. create your own. So it isn’t surprising that self employment is highest in 40 years and much of this recent growth is equated to women. Female entrepreneurs have grown by 40% compared to just 13% in men. As @CindyGallop famously advises GTFO (Get the fuck out).
We still aren’t creating enough work environments where women can function, never mind flourish. In the 21st Century – ‘If you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen’ – really shouldn’t be relevant.