Still tough for women in the workplace

FOR ME, the word “occupation” represents an equal opportunity for both men and women.

Perhaps this is because in the 24 years of my existence it has been normal for me to witness my mother generally operating in a male-dominated industry.

But sadly there are some prehistoric inhabitants of the business community who do not share my view. So are we still living in the dark ages?

I would not label myself as a feminist, but I am aware of women still being treated unfairly in the workplace; it makes me realize we still have a long road ahead of us.

Even in 2011 women are still battling against “caveman attitudes” to earn a place in their respective professions, no matter how good they are at their jobs.

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It is true that nowadays women have the right to work in any profession they choose. Women can even join our armed forces and fight for our country, but unfortunately sometimes it means they just have to work a little harder to get there.

I believe that when we do stumble across the odd “antiquated view” or limitation; it can actually create the catalyst to drive professional women forward.

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Most recently, a controversial event happened in the world surrounding football, when a well-known commentator suggested that a female assistant referee might need to have the offside rule explained to her, leading to a major debate about a woman’s role in a male dominated environment.

Whilst I appreciate this is a common tongue in cheek joke made about women, due to their supposed general misunderstanding in this situation, I like many others, find it very inappropriate and improper, as it totally undermines the female assistant’s position as a professional. This is still happening to women in business every day in many male-dominated industries.

Business has often been described as “a man’s world”. Traditionally it was the woman’s job to stay at home, to cook, clean and maintain the household. This was until the early years of the 20th Century when the women’s rights movement began to change society into what we know it as today.

Thanks to the determination, hard work and perseverance of our women over years, we now have the equal opportunity to work along-side men. Putting gender aside women should be judged on their professional strengths and weaknesses rather than their sex.

It is a genetic fact that women and men do not think alike, therefore our work methods may differ. My point is not to praise women over men, as I do believe as human beings we can all do the same job, but that women are just as efficient, intelligent and committed to business as men.

Men and women in business do bring, I believe, many different aspects and insights into a profession, and collaborating our thoughts and ideas we can work towards great success together into the future.But just for today I am celebrating the development of women in business, and long may it continue.

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