By Kat Titterrell
“No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half of its citizens.” – Michelle Obama.
From the moment we’re born, women are pigeonholed into a certain type. Walk into any toy shop and boys are shown they can be astronauts, doctors, firefighters, adventurers, builders, pilots, soldiers, engineers and explorers. Girls are shown, when they grow up, they can be mums, princesses, cleaners, fairies, fashion models… purse carrying, jewellery wearing mermaids. I never wanted to be any of those things. I wanted to be a punk, go camping, fishing, mountain climbing, lift weights and shave my head.
I’ve been quite lucky in my career. I haven’t had to prove myself as much as others, I’ve been given some great opportunities that I’ve grabbed with both hands. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still been occasions when men have talked over me in meetings, taken my ideas as their own or assumed I’m there to make the tea. But I enjoy the challenge of taking back control of a meeting that I’m chairing. And if called upon, I can speak louder than most. As Queen Elizabeth I once said, “Though the sex to which I belong is considered weak, you will nevertheless find me a rock that bends to no wind”.
A Danish study found that companies with good numbers of women on the board outperformed those with no women by 17% higher return on sales and 54% higher return on invested capital. It makes good business sense to elevate and empower women in the workplace and give them equal opportunities. How can we change this? We can all do something small but powerful. We can speak to our girls and our boys. I regularly visit schools, colleges and universities to try and empower young women and to let them know that they are capable and welcome in our industry, and that traditionally ‘men’s’ roles can be women’s roles too. Equally, I like to show young men that it’s normal to see women in these roles.
I also buy my nieces, nephews, godsons and goddaughter toys that are interesting, inspirational and don’t tell them what they should be. I’m not sure they’re old enough yet to watch Terminator 2 and the greatest female antihero of all time, Sarah Connor, but that’s definitely on the list.
I’m proud to say that at Wisebuddah we have an extremely strong female voice as 50% of our team are women.