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.
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:
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.
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