Perhaps that statement is a bit strong and should be rephrased as ‘sometimes it’s harder to succeed if you’re a women’ – particularly in the corporate world. Take the recent Presidential race for example. On the one hand we had an experienced women with a long record of public service, the intellectual capacity to lead and a clear commitment to the role, yet she lost out in the race to Donald Trump. Despite spending months of his campaign shouting about building walls, mocking people with disabilities and offending almost everyone with a pulse, he managed to scoop the most coveted prize in the world.
So why did Donald Trump triumph over Hilary Clinton? Some may say that Hilary was held to a higher account simply because she is a woman. Trumps failings and scandals were described as minor character flaws whereas there were calls for Hilary to be locked up.
So what can we do about? How can we change the stereotypes associated with strong business women and thrive in the corporate world on a level playing field with our male counterparts?
I believe the secret to this success lies in sisterhood and women leading the change, standing together against the stereotypes that so often hold us back. No longer should a women be pigeonholed into the role of Ice Queen, simply because she keeps it strictly professional in the workplace or seen as a diva because she displayed frustration at a staff meeting. Knowledge is power and the more we know about these stereotypes the better equipped we are to tackle them.
Another way we can bring about change is by offering support. It is said that ‘behind every successful women is a tribe of other successful women who have her back’.
Orlaith recently spoke to two groups of business women, BPW in Galway and Network Kildare, who were doing just that – succeeding in business by offering support and simply having each other’s back’s. Orlaith told the group how she recently met a women whose niece was running in the local elections. The lady told Orlaith how she wanted to do something productive to help her niece during the election campaign but wasn’t keen on canvasing door to door. She came up with a perfect solution and decided to deliver home cooked meals to her niece and family 3 nights a week. A simple yet effective way to offer some much needed support!
Groups like BPW in Galway and Network Ireland offer similar support to their members and it’s wonderful to see strong, educated confidant women doing it for the girls and having each other’s back.
Sometimes it IS harder to succeed if you’re a women, so let’s make a conscious effort to stand together, support one another and tackle the stereotypes that are holding us back together, one sisterhood at a time.
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