By Amy Horton, Chief Product Officer at Talon Outdoor.
In the narrative to strive for gender equality, and to promote women’s rightful place in business boardrooms and leadership positions, an unattainable role model of the superwoman seems to have emerged and I don’t think it is helping the sisterhood. If we want more women in business leadership positions, a wider spectrum of women need to feel leadership is attainable to them. And businesses need to put in place ways of working to support that, but that is a whole other topic!
A few years ago, I investigated entering an awards programme that aimed to recognise and support women in advertising. I thought I was at that stage in my career where I should start to put myself forward as a woman wanting to be recognised as an aspiring future leader. As part of the application process, you were encouraged to read the synopsis of previous “winners”. One quick read of the achievements of these amazing women showed to me that I wasn’t even in their league. Unless I was a CEO, mother of five, patron of a charity, had a successful husband, a side business selling organic yoga mats, ran sub-4-hour marathons, and always looked immaculate, I wasn’t going to cut the mustard. Of course, I didn’t apply. At first, I was annoyed at myself for not having achieved more with my life but then I realised I DON’T NEED AN APPLICATION TO PROVE I AM A SUPER-WOMAN; I AM ONE, JUST IN MY OWN WAY.
The reality is that for many women they are not only having to run a business or aspiring to do so but are already excelling at the role of Chief Household Officer and Managing Director of childcare, and that is pretty super to me.
I want to be the absolute very best that I can be at my job, smash the patriarchy along the way and create a positive path for younger women rapidly coming up behind me. But I think that should be enough. For me, the reality is that if I can get to the end of the day having made positive progress at work, sorted something on my life admin list, put the washing on, eaten healthily, done some exercise and done all that without smudging make up all around my face; that is an achievement.
If more of us ordinary women can make progress into leadership, we are more likely to have boardrooms that have women as 50% of the people around the table as a standard. And to get there more women need to feel welcome and be able to stay in business for longer however our life-experiences evolve.
From now on let us celebrate our everyday super-ness for just being awesome at work. It should be enough and if it isn’t I’m not your superwoman.