It’s really significant for me (and many other women) who have turned 60, that the theme for this years International Women’s Day is Break the Bias.
It is more fitting this year than ever before, that we acknowledge the women who led the way in breaking down bias. They achieved amazing things in very different times.
Those women. The one’s who broke the glass ceiling. The one’s who leaned in. The one’s who did all of this – often whilst raising children, lived and worked in a man’s world. They probably didn’t know it then, and couldn’t see how the next decades would evolve, but they turned the tide of evolution.
I can’t speak for the women who were before me, or after me. I can only tell the story of how it was for me as a woman in the 90s. The first woman ever to have been offered the job – leading a team of all men! Having to juggle and choose every day to get the job done, and have happy, healthy children. And later, as a single mum – adding an extra layer to think about.
That’s not so different to how it is today you might think. Except it is. The remarks that men would never dare say to other men, and yet felt it ‘fair game’ to say to women, are now less commonplace. I would query though whether that is sometimes more out of fear of being ‘outed’ than a real desire to treat women well.
My business is in its 11th year, and one thing I have noticed recently is that I haven’t coached a woman on how to deal with male Alpha’s in the workplace for almost two years. That’s a good sign, isn’t it? Of course, that doesn’t mean Alpha’s are declining, and it doesn’t mean all Alpha’s are men either!
Two years ago, I designed a programme called Genterpreter® as I realised that 2026 was going to be a pivotal year in history. 2026 is the year that if they retire on time, the last of the Boomers (1946-1964) will start to exit the workplace.
Why’s that a problem? Because very few, and I mean VERY few businesses have done anything about harnessing and leveraging the incredible Boomer knowledge and wisdom before they go. They have made the mistake of believing that Gen X (1965—1980) will step up into their shoes so they think that have a few more years before they have to worry about it.
However, two things compound this theory. 1. There are more, small to medium businesses owned in NZ by Gen X than any other generation. There aren’t as many to step up as we think. 2. Up to 50% of Gen X when asked, state that they won’t stay until retirement age.
That leaves Millennials, many of whom don’t feel ready, or that they’ve not yet had all of the vital information and skills downloaded to them that they need. If you own a business, start thinking about what happens if all of your Boomers and Gen X leave at once. Will your business, and people be ready?
I would encourage you this International Women’s Day, to seek out women from a different generation. Coax them to tell their stories…who knows what you’ll find out. Times may have changed, technology advances may mean that methods are different too, but wisdom is gained through time and experience.
Let’s embrace that. Celebrate that, and each other. Build other women up. Advocate for them. Be happy for them.
Here’s the link if you want to know more about Genterpreter®