International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women’s rights. Given the dramatic increase in Australian women’s mental and physical health issues over the last few decades however, it seems like 2019 is a great time to celebrate the fact that women have the right to say no – to feeling like they have to do it all.
I believe that this year’s theme #balanceforbetter serves as a great reminder for this. While we have made some incredible advancements over the last century in terms of gender equality and opportunities for women, I can’t help but wonder if this has come at the expense of our general health and wellbeing.
I work with female professionals and business owners every day, who have burned out due to the pressures of trying to juggle too many things, and prove themselves within the working environment. I believe true equality is not possible within our lifetime, because we are still too close to the era where the roles of men and women were very clearly defined and separate, and as a result we’re still operating according to the learned behaviours and beliefs we’ve picked up from our parents and grandparents. So even though we now logically know that we deserve an equal place in the workforce, we still subconsciously believe that we carry the responsibilities within the home – so we end up trying to do it all and working ourselves into the ground.
These subconscious forces influence the way you think and behave, so in order to get some #balanceforbetter it’s important to understand how they play out for you. Alongside this it’s critical to identify what matters to you at your core, what truly makes you happy and what you really want – in all areas of your life. This allows you to prioritise according to what you actually want to do, rather than what you think you “should” do.
It seems that in the bid to be equal, woman have lost sight of who they really are because they’re constantly trying to shape themselves into who they think they “should” be, and often in the workplace who they think they “should” be is more masculine (as is the case for most of my clients). The fact is that women are fundamentally different to men and we do have different needs and desires, so in order to achieve true #balanceforbetter we need to ensure that the parameters for equality are clear. That is, for women to receive equal remuneration, working conditions and opportunities to men, but to acknowledge and embrace the differences when it comes to physical, emotional and mental attributes.
I believe that by getting back to who we truly are and what we truly want, we’re not only helping ourselves but we’re also paving the way for our future generations. Just as we picked up the behaviours and beliefs of our parents, so too will our children from us. International Women’s Day is a day to call for change. I believe if we want to achieve true #balanceforbetter, the change must begin with ourselves.
My bestselling book, Unfaked, directly address the issues women today face when it comes to balancing their work and life, including detailed strategies to overcome it, through the story of a woman called Debs. Click here for more details.