Over the past year, we have seen so much movement from women speaking out about their rights. The #MeToo hashtag pole vaulted women’s rights to the forefront of every gender inequality discussion and it highlighted that we still have a lot of work ahead of us. It boggles my mind that we are in the year 2018, 100 years after women were granted the right to vote in the United Kingdom and we’re still having to break through female stereotypes. There is no doubt that we have made leaps and bounds since then but we are still making our way to our final destination. Here are a few of the female stereotypes that need to end.
- We can’t take you seriously. Not only are most females paid less than their male counter-part in an equivalent position, but women also have to work incredibly hard to be taken seriously in a male-dominated meeting. Unfortunately, a lot of women in senior positions have had to be very forceful to earn their positions at the top and sometimes build very difficult personalities as a result of these circumstances which is a real shame. At this stage in time, we should be willing to listen to anyone who can contribute value in the workplace, no matter their demographic, and without a cost to their personality.
- You can’t be attractive and intelligent. Often this stereotype leads successful women to dress in dark colours and in clothing with no particular shape to avoid this misconception. Some women will avoid wearing makeup purposefully to avoid giving the impression that they have spent more time on their appearance than they have on the work that was required. To me, the woman that can work round the clock and still make an effort on her appearance is the one that gives the impression that she can handle absolutely anything you throw at her and she is the one that I want to work with. There is something that really snaps people to attention when they see that you look good but realise you actually know what you talking about.
- You need to choose whether you’re going to be a career woman or a woman with a family – you can’t be both. In my career, I have seen some appalling treatment of women who choose to have a family. Maternity leave is considered a nuisance and the flexibility new moms need to juggle this huge life change is often held over their heads. There is absolutely no need for this. Shockingly, I’ve noticed that some senior men will even make a point of highlighting this “pitfall” in a woman’s career early on in a manner that implies she should heed a warning. I have come across so many successful career women that happen to make fantastic moms.
- Fear of the Sugar Mama. A woman that enters into a relationship with a man who earns less than her is often made to feel as though this is something she should be apologetic for. The same can be said if there has been an occurrence during the relationship which causes the same effect. If a woman is a homeowner, has paid off her car, worked hard and has been extremely savvy with her money, that is something to be celebrated. A woman that has built wealth for herself should be admired and, well honey, I take my hat off to you.
What are the female stereotypes that you think are most harmful in our society? We need to put an end to gender inequality and stand together to do so. Women stereotyping other women is incredibly prejudicial to any progress we may make toward this goal so let’s open the discussion and continue to work on reshaping the view of our world.