In the latest of a series of opinion articles from our PCR Women of the Year 2015 judges, GfK's Megan Moore looks at why it's important to recognise the success of women within business…
"The word ‘bossy’ should be banned!", claimed Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. A number of high-profile female celebrities lent their support, including Beyonce and Victoria Beckham, explaining that ‘The B Word’ was just one more example of how women are treated differently in the workplace. Put simply, men are never called 'bossy'.
It's a topic that I sometimes struggle with because, simply put, why should gender matter? What matters is whether someone is doing a good job, and the successes they have. Are they respected by their peers? Do they achieve results? I truly believe that actions speak louder than words.
And yet the statistics prove that there are still fewer females in senior roles and, on average, females are paid less than their male counterparts. There are of course many reasons for this but, for females, work is a complicated beast – particularly for those that have a family, or wish to have one.
The PCR Women of The Year Awards are a great opportunity to inspire and celebrate those females that buck the trend and become an inspirational role model for other women on their career path.
There is an endless positive feedback loop with such talent recognition; women starting their careers are most definitely inspired by hearing about women who were once in their shoes. Celebrating that can only be positive.
If you look at the tech industry now there are so many inspirational role models, and that was evident while judging for this award. It's an industry that is often considered an "old boys' club"; I was recently at a business event and was only spoken to to be asked the vital question: “Do you know how to work the coffee machine, love?”.
But this is changing. I strongly believe that it will continue to change as our society allows individuals, and more importantly children, to simply be themselves, with no stereotypes, no predetermined roles, and no limitations to their ambitions.
Perhaps banning gender specific vocabulary like ‘bossy’, ‘lady-like’ and ‘man-up’ is a little over the top, but certainly if children didn’t feel they had to fit particular stereotypes and, maybe, if toys were not so gender specific, this would help increase the number of females going into STEM fields.
The 2014 university admissions statistics highlighted there was still a gap, particularly in engineering where there were 20,000 more male applicants than female.
But, of course, this works both ways and there are some industries where females are the dominant gender. How confident do some men feel about studying for a nursing degree, for example? We need to tackle these gender stereotypes at a young age and encourage a range of hobbies and interests.
In the future, gender will not be the topic discussed and our focus will turn to skillbase and innovation. We are still on this transition, though and I am always one that believes in stopping, reflecting, thanking and celebrating what people have achieved.
As an industry, we are at the forefront of this. Bossy women, we salute you!
For more information about the PCR Women of the Year Awards, including ticketing and sponsorship oppprtunities, visit www.pcrwomenoftheyear.com.
About the author
Megan Moore is Business Group Director for Telecoms, IT, Photo, Office & Stationery at GfK.