We are still striving to achieve equality in the workplace
I happened to come across a posting by someone who was once a colleague and now on the fringes of local politics.
The biography told me he had a grown-up daughter. He was perhaps one of the most unpleasant people I have had the misfortune to work with; sexist and a snob he deliberately made me feel uncomfortable on too many occasions. I wonder what he would think now if his daughter was subjected to someone like him in the workplace? On Monday the Girls’ School Association held its Conference and as President I enjoyed hearing and meeting our inspirational speakers albeit online. Cheryl Giovannoni, CEO of the GDST, spoke passionately about the struggle women still face in certain employments to be on an equal footing with men and said “Still only 16% of employees in the tech industries are female – a proportion unchanged for over ten years – which means the risk is real that the future is being designed for women, but not by many women at all. A future in which, on average, 67% of all UK household consumption is controlled or influenced by women, yet women don’t have comparable control or influence on what actually gets made.“ Mishal Husain, another guest speaker, in her book The Skills; How to Win at Work makes the point that instead of asking children what do you want to be when you grow up we should ask what is your ambition for when you grow up? This makes the question so much more aspirational.
The workplace is a more balanced place than when I encountered Mr Unpleasant decades ago but that does not mean we have as yet achieved equality. Girls’ schools such as PHS play their part in ensuring pupils are encouraged to believe in themselves and their ability so that they never expect or will tolerate to be treated in any other way but as an equal.