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Equal of any man - but what about any woman?

Maureen Jordan
Thursday, November 26, 2009

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If you had a daughter, what would you tell her about being the equal of someone else?  

I grew up with a father who told me that I was as good as any man. And when you’re raised with your parent reinforcing your value, particularly the male parent, you totally believe his words and they penetrate to the core. I believed that I could do anything – play cricket, cut wood, hammer a nail, drop a fishing line – you name it, my Dad planted the seeds. I was taught by a bunch of dedicated nuns and on the cricket pitch, the tennis or basketball court and in the classroom they watered our competitive spirits daily.  

Then I hit the real world. My first job during a gap year I took before going to university was with a government department. There, I was paid two-thirds of the salary the dropkick beside me received, until the Whitlam government put an end to this blatant discrimination.

Lots of water has gone under the bridge between then and now.

I owe a lot to my Dad, but he did me one great disservice.

He told me I was the equal of any man and to this day I know I am – but he didn’t tell me I was the equal of any woman.

And as I reflect on my life, if I had to point to the people who have done me the most harm – to a person, they would be women.

In my professional life and throughout the time I’ve run my own business, I have found men supportive, encouraging, open to discussion and confrontation and generally easy to get along with.

I find women who don’t play the girl game equally easy to do business with – and they are abundant in corporations, universities and associations.

But I’ve had the greatest knockbacks, dramas, obstacles, difficulties, insults hurled from those who often profess to be the downtrodden sex. I would like to be persuaded otherwise, but members of the fairer sex are often so unfair to one another.

So when it comes to the ‘burning’ issue of equity and indeed equality, here are four tips that might help those among us who wonder why they can’t get a fair go:

  1. Sharpen your brain. Get your head out of the gossip pages and into the pages of a first class self-improvement book.
  2. Learn to cop it on the chin. If you’re not performing and you’re told so, pull your socks up, listen to the criticism and implement a ‘m’ plan. That’s ‘m’ for maturity which all of us humans need to get real about.
  3. Practise one of two things. Either stop the ‘bitching’ about your ‘friends’ or colleagues, or have the courage to put the knife in where they can see it not behind their back. This way, they have the opportunity to either defend or deny any issue you might have with them.
  4. Speak up when there is unfairness and injustice. Government departments and commissions acting for us women can only do so much. There is strength in numbers if we all find our voices and make ourselves worthy of equal treatment.

If you’re a young woman, treat women who are older than you with respect. They have so much to share with you and behind their age lines is much wisdom.

Important information:This content has been prepared without taking account of the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular individual. It does not constitute formal advice. For this reason, any individual should, before acting, consider the appropriateness of the information, having regard to the individual’s objectives, financial situation and needs and, if necessary, seek appropriate professional advice.

Published: Thursday, November 26, 2009


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