That’s unfair for women, Mum!

A promise to my teenage son. 

After watching the film Suffragette, my teenage son asked me what it was about. When I shared some of the points of the story, he was shocked that women didn’t have a right to vote and that they were paid less than men, in the 1900’s. His jaw dropped when I told him that still to this day “on average full time working women are paid almost 18% less than full time working men” (1). He said, “That’s unfair!”. Those words were echoing in my ears long after the conversation with him. “Fair! Fair. Fair?” This situation is so obviously unfair. 

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The Suffragette Film was confronting in many ways. To see how women in the 1900’s were ignored, brushed-off, touched-up, victimised, used and segregated. Yet ordinary women, not necessarily heads of Government or CEOs, yes ordinary women, just like you and me could see that women could have a better life, that women could dream a new reality, they could be and feel happy. These women were courageous and brave. They realised that politicians and heads of corporations were not going to stand-up for them. They needed to stand-up for themselves. They banded together with strength and bravery for a common cause – that women deserved the right to vote.

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The standard you walk past is the standard you accept

David Morrison AO – bold and brave.

At one stage in my corporate career I worked in the supply chain function of an FMCG company. This role taught me a lot about how to change expectations and behaviour for the long term. During this change the people had the same meaningful mantra as our 2016 Australian of the Year, David Morrison AO – “The standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.

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In order to make change we all need to notice the standards we are walking past and accepting, as these are the standards that will become the norm. If we notice standards which are not acceptable, we need to have the courage to stop and voice our opinion about those standards, and what needs to change.

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Why not give yourself an end of year report card?

Let’s reflect on your year’s achievements.

Last week our children brought home their report cards from school and it’s given us a great opportunity to talk about their achievements for the year, what they’re not so happy about, what they’re really proud of and what they might do the same or differently in 2016, based on this year’s report. It made me think that report cards are something we could all do!

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It’s that time of the year when you might be wrapping up projects, clearing out those small tasks left on the to-do-list and planning for next year.

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Empowering women to ask for what they’re worth

Let’s close the gender pay gap.

Are you aware of the staggering statistic that shows only 7% of women negotiate their salaries, versus 57% of men[1]? This is a behaviour learnt early in life!

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At home we have set up a system for our three children to earn weekly pocket money in exchange for completing a list of jobs. Of course, there’s a catch! Their jobs need to be completed without complaining, and without me or Peter nagging them to do their jobs.

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It’s time to stop being short changed

Making salary negotiation happen easily. 

Recently I read an article about the statistics relating to the gender pay gap. I felt the muscles in my neck tense, my breath tighten and a terrible sinking feeling – a knot in the pit of my stomach.

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This is what I read, “On average, full time working women’s earnings are 17.1% less per week than full time working men’s earnings (a difference that equates to $262.50 per week) (1). That’s $13,650 per year, which is about $600,000 less over a woman’s career!

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Showing them that women can do anything

In a man’s worlds, a young woman triumphs. 

What an amazing Melbourne Cup race! My horse didn’t win, in fact I have no idea where it came in the race. When Michelle Payne galloped over the line on the back of Prince of Penzance as the first female to ever win a Melbourne Cup, I felt like a winner.

Photo: Nampa-Xinhua

Michelle had two interviews after winning the cup. She was overjoyed by her victory. She came across as a confident and ambitious woman. In those interviews she shared some insight into what helped her succeed, which every woman can learn from, particularly those who work in a male dominated environment.

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Burning the candle at both ends

Be ‘on fire’ but don’t burn out. 

Over the last year, I have felt so alive and energised about what I’m doing. I’ve been able to push myself at work and through exercise to the point where I’m learning everyday and I’m constantly improving my fitness.

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Just recently I awoke one morning to exercise and I felt nauseous, my eye was swollen and I had a headache. I had pushed myself too far, mentally and physically. The morning prior when I was working out, I felt dizzy a number of times but kept pushing myself through. Over that day I felt lethargic, but didn’t stop to rest. Instead I soldiered on. I had reached a tipping point between being energised and thriving, to feeling worn out and exhausted. But I didn’t listen to my body and rest. It was time to stop!

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Make progress vs. aim for perfection

How to make progress to achieve your goals

As change becomes the norm, people seem to be realising they need to focus on making progress versus achieving perfection, or they will be left behind.

 

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Our children were away over the school holidays. Peter and I planned a day of gardening so that we could establish a yard that was easier to maintain. Peter had some brilliant ideas on design, plant inclusions and landscaping, and I loved all of them. “Great, let’s do it!” I said.

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What’s your why?

Knowing why you do what you do will keep you motivated.

I work with different organisations on change programs. Regularly I hear them tell me in the project briefing that there’s been past resistance to change and people question why.

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I was training for a half marathon recently so that I could maintain a focus on fitness during a busy work period and I wanted to raise money for a fabulous charity, Dress for Success. There were times when I was thinking of multiple excuses not to do the early morning training or the two hours of running on a cold Sunday morning.

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Are you staying in your comfort zone, when you could be pushing yourself further?

Learning can be uncomfortable

I have been hearing people talk about their level of discomfort when they’re learning new things. “This is too hard”, “I’m totally confused”, “My head is spinning”, “That’s embarrassing”. I remember a coach saying to me once, “If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not learning and developing”.

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I worked for almost two decades for one organisation. I had a variety of experience over that time as I worked in various business units, across multiple roles, in different functions, and on many projects. However, I got to a point where I felt I mastered many of the skills and behaviours that this organisation recognised and rewarded. Tasks that I once found difficult or challenging were very easy.

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