“The glass ceiling that once limited a woman’s career path has paved a new road towards business ownership, where women can utilize their sharp business acumen while building strong family ties” – Erica Nicole
Most of my clients are women, most of the service providers I engage in working with me are women, and I will actively choose a female-led business if possible, in my buying decisions.
Sometimes people will question why it is ok for me to favour females over males when I choose goods or services for my business or life, but at the same time, I believe that the “Old Boys Club” mentality is not ok; isn’t it the same?
No, it is not.
And this is why.
I have seen and experienced too much gender discrimination in my two decades of working. I have been on the receiving end of male opinions on how I dress, how I laugh, what I say.
I have earned less than the males I worked with in the same role.
In one role, I was the leader of a team of mostly middle-aged men. I was referred to as “The New Girl.” They asked me on my very first day, with faux concern, “So who is looking after your kids?”. Now let’s flip that story and imagine how they would have treated a male in that scenario? Pretty unlikely that he’d be “The New Boy” or that they would be concerned about the childcare arrangements for his kid, huh?
These may seem like petty complaints, but microaggressions like this take power from women who dare enter positions of authority. And you know what? It works.
In another workplace, when I was just 22, a male colleague sent me pornographic cartoon images via email and asked me on multiples dates. After I continually (and kindly) said no, he was so full of rage he left me a series of abusive voice mails late at night. The male CEO mediated the situation and concluded that I had hurt this guy’s feelings by rejecting his date offers. While he accepted that he had gone overboard, he could sympathise with this man acting out. True story.
I have lived through the confidence-crushing experience of going from a promised promotion while pregnant to being demoted while on maternity leave. I had to re-interview for my position four months post-partum, on about 4 hours of broken sleep a night, with leaking breasts and exhaustion like nothing I had ever experienced. Even though I had years of proven experience in that exact role, I was told that they would not consider any criteria outside of my interview performance in their decision.
Unsurprisingly, the male who backfilled my maternity leave position landed the job. That whole night of sleep before the interview and his habit of putting in (unnecessary) 10-hour workdays was probably no deciding factor, right – #merit.
I was grateful that this workplace allowed me to work part-time and maintain my pay level. But to go back after maternity leave in a demoted role felt humiliating.
At the same time, another brilliant woman I know resigned from her senior job at the end of maternity leave as her workplace decided at the 11th hour that the role was only available full-time, from the office. They didn’t fire her; they just made the position untenable (and they knew it).
When I speak with women who now run thriving businesses, the story of how they got there is often some version of the same thing.
“I was demoted/made redundant on maternity leave.”
“My workplace wouldn’t let me work flexibly.”
“I was constantly overlooked for promotion because I can’t work long hours and I became invisible.”
“I was given low-level work to do, and I was bored.”
These intelligent, driven, and committed women had slogged to get to where they were, only to be treated as second-class citizens once they couldn’t work long hours that are still considered the gold standard for employee productivity and effectiveness.
The playing field out there still isn’t equal. It may be better than it was for our mothers, grandmothers, or the women for generations who have suffered oppression based on their gender. But it is still not good enough.
So, when I favour a female when choosing who I want to work with, I do it because I want to tip the playing field a little, tiny bit in our favour.
Jodi Facy, Facy and Co.
Jody is an internationally recognised certified practising accountant (CPA), and qualified accounting professional with almost two decades of experience working in senior financial management roles in Australia and the UK.
She works alongside you, your bookkeeper, and your tax accountant to help you understand the numbers, find opportunities to grow your revenue, and keep you on track to achieve your strategic goals.