I’ve found myself saying recently that the older I get, the more feminist I am. But I don’t think that’s quite accurate.
The older I get the less tolerant I am of gender inequality.
I’ve worked in male-dominated industries most of my life. Given the stories I’ve heard of the challenges some friends, colleagues and peers have had in the workplace, I feel like I’ve had a fairly lucky ride.
Luck shouldn’t come into it, but that’s the thing, that’s what we need to challenge until we don’t need to any more.
There was that time when, during my annual appraisal, my male boss asked me if my ambition was to have babies.
I did call him out on it. And again, when he asked the same question about the women in my team.
When I was interviewed for my property journalism job by the female editor, I was given a scenario and asked how I’d handle it. It involved a sexist comment.
Later, after I’d got the job, I asked her about the scenario, and she said it was something she’d experienced.
She wanted to see if I could handle it. And while I never experienced anything quite like that (and shouldn’t have to), I could understand why she’d asked me.
That editor is one of many inspirational women I’ve worked with or had the privilege to get to know throughout my career.
I’ve seen the number of women working in the commercial property industry start to grow. It still has a long, long way to go, but it is definitely better than it was.
And that is only going to benefit the industry. As it will benefit all industries to have a better gender balance.
Confidence comes with age
Coming back to my point about having a lower tolerance for inequality, this is down to the experience and confidence that come with age.
I’ve listened to the stories that female friends, colleagues and peers have been brave enough to tell about their experiences and shared my own.
Equally, I’ve been inspired by seeing what they’ve achieved and, importantly, the manner in which they’ve achieved it.
And never more so than in the past three years as I’ve started my own business.
My mentors and support network are all women, and I hope I can help other women who are embarking on the same journey in the same way.
Talking about our experiences and helping each other to achieve their goals is an important driver for change.
It’s International Women’s Day – so I want to take the opportunity to thank all those fantastic women who are inspiring and inspired. Thank you.