Old Red and White New Inpowering Change

Old Red and White New Inpowering Change

Change is inevitable but change is challenging.

For some its almost hard to reconcile what they did before “the big change”.  For me, one such person is Meg Salter. It’s not a dig at FC in any way, but it’s hard to imagine how someone like Meg could contain herself in such a large company.

We got Meg on board for Travel Vision 2020 and well, she was the most loved and had the most impact.

Ok, starting off your presentation talking about sleeping with Hugh Heffner will get attention, she started with “…not really sure I want to do this presentation….because a lot of what I am going to say is uncomfortable”.

But she did, and I loved her for it.  Recently Meg started stirring the “uncomfortable pot” again about the under representation of women in her piece” Inpowering Women:the Physiology of Confidence”.

So let’s be up front. I’m a bloke, I’m white, I went to Uni, I live in Australia.  I know how privileged I am. I am a husband of 12 years and a dad of 10 to a daughter.  We do however have a male dog at home (who arrived with his family jewels removed….hang on…)

So straight up and blokey, “Do you really need confidence to go for the next job Meg”

“Well, you need both confidence and competence. I think there is a huge focus on competence – but it takes confidence to apply and go through the interview process which is highly stressful for a lot of people (women in particular as they repeatedly underestimate their level of competence as opposed to men who have a natural tendency to overestimate it). Improving confidence in the workplace (for both women and men) will allow people to move up the ladder and to have a voice. The higher up the ladder, the further your voice travels and the more people listen. With less females than males in the top jobs, women and women’s issues don’t have quite the same volume.”

Is it really that tough?  Merit based, apply for the job, get on with it?

“People who are more confident tend to do these things more naturally than people who don’t. And you have to remember, the most confident are not always the most competent and that means there is a lot of untapped potential in most organisations sitting in the people who aren’t confident enough to throw their hats or opinions into the ring.

“Think about simple examples of having the confidence to speak up in a meeting if you disagree, suggesting a new strategy, introducing yourself to someone who might be able to influence your career, or asking for more flexible work arrangements.  That is a really tough gig when your self-esteem is low.”

So for a more balanced view, we need greater diversity (less white university educated guys from Melbourne – more women, LGBTI, racial mixes etc). With that in mind…its not going to be a quick process?

“Lord – nothing these days is a quick process (except changing our Prime Minister).  It is going to take a while and a number of social and other factors will restrict the movement getting momentum quickly.”

“In my world, the ‘Wife Drought’ by Annabel Crabb sums up my personal biggest pain points. Even though my partner is one of the good ones, I am still expected do the majority of the ‘wifey’ chores associated with bringing up children and running a household.  Therefore my ambition has to take a back seat and my ego is suffering from severe claustrophobia.

“Don’t get me wrong, I want to be there for my kids and feel privileged I can manage a business whilst I do that. I am involved in school and other activities, am always there to see them get their awards, I work in the tuckshop and help out in the classrooms.  I am there to put the band aids on and crawl into bed with them to read stories at night, whilst managing to continue to spend time in classrooms and on stages sharing my wisdom.  But I absolutely do not want to do the bloody grocery shopping, organise to get the carpets cleaned, taxi them to extracurricular activities, change the sheets after ‘accidents’ and clean the bloody toilet every second day because I have a son with dreadful aim.

(I did say to Meg the aim improves with time and my left ear is still ringing quite badly…apparently we aren’t up to joking on this yet)

“That shit just simply sucks and takes up so much time!  I personally don’t want a nanny or au pair to take care of my kids while I work – I want a live in cleaner, personal assistant, ironing lady, book-keeper and cook so I can spend my time with my kids and doing work that makes an impact, rather than cramming my workload into an hour here and an hour there. Or I want work to be more flexible and understanding when the shit does hit the fan and I need to prioritise my children.

“Women have a lot going on as they transition through their working lives – their hormones alone are enough to deal with at times (I only finished breastfeeding 5 years ago and I fear menopause is not far off for me – apparently I will need a completely new sweat absorbent wardrobe for that phase which sound delightful…).  I have friends who are going through IVF, menopause, organising weddings, bringing up the next generation.  To be told in the workplace to ‘just suck it up’ and deal with the attitude of ‘if men can do it women can do it too if they want to’ now makes me angry.  A little understanding wouldn’t go astray. Even better, make the effort to encourage the women around you to speak up and step up and make us a cuppa when we look a bit flat.”

The interviews with Meg and “Inpowerment for Women in Travel” pieces will continue over coming weeks

For more info about Meg and Inpowerment, click here.

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