A-Z of Being Female: C is for Careers

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“’What’s your favourite position?’ ‘CEO’” – Lauren Conrad

My first ever job was a cameraman. I was about six years old and it was to assist the aspiring director who trained me on the job – my 8-year-old brother. It was a challenge; we had limited props and an under-qualified cast member (my Dad), so the films were not exactly going to be plastered all over the box office. After being sacked due to lack of skill, I tried my best at being a goalkeeper during the summer for Dad and Rob’s football league, became a pilot for Plane Bunk Bed and practiced my surgical skills during heated games of Operation. Of course, I did most jobs in my Mum’s high-heels and sent any admin to my Furbee; I couldn’t manage my work diary alone.

When I went to secondary school, I was taught about the ‘glass ceiling’ – a name for the invisible barrier in the world of employment, stopping some high-achieving, working women from reaching the same level of hierarchy or salary as men in the same career. It appears there is a ceiling that women can look up to and gaze at the stars; the stars being men, doing the same jobs as the women but with the recognition and larger payslip. If the men look down at the glass ceiling beneath their feet, they will see a lot of under-paid women wearing the same uniform as them, sticking their fingers up at them no doubt. Despite this happening a lot more in the past than today, it seems it does still exist – the glass ceiling has been smashed, but not completely destroyed.

The little Liz in me was horrified; you mean, in theory, Rob would’ve been given more pocket money than me, even though we both flew Plane Bunk Bed? And he probably would’ve been promoted to captain, even though that bunk bed was in MY room? Piss take.

In my early 20’s, I watched ‘Made In Dagenham’ on screen and on stage. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend. It is based on the true story of the female sewing machinists working at Ford. They made the car seat covers and there were four rates of pay: a skilled male rate, a semi-skilled male rate, an unskilled male rate and a women’s rate (which was only 87% of the unskilled male rate). The female machinists demanded equal pay and actioned a strike, stopping production for three weeks. As a result, not only did Ford agree to pay them equally, but their actions led to the Equal Pay Act of 1970. I’d bloody love to meet those Dagenham girls.

Now, in my late 20’s, I see more women smashing gender stereotypes in the workplace than before – my boss, my colleagues getting promotions, my mates handling their own businesses and me, I suppose! All women and all climbing up the hierarchy, deservedly so. It’s nice to see that things in the world of work are changing, so all genders have a shot.

So, here’s to the female captains, directors, chiefs and CEO’s, but also to the males who have achieved the same. At least now, most people who have worked their way to the top have earned it through their ability and skill, rather than whether they have a dick or not. Hopefully, one day, we can all party on that glass ceiling together and it can be something under women’s feet, not over their heads.

The more us women strive to smash through the glass ceiling, the quicker it will shatter and make way for our daughters, nieces and their daughters and nieces. Let’s raise little leaders, baby bosses and managers in the making. Whether it’s a hard hat, a helmet or a hairnet, wear it like a crown!

Liz @ TEWP x

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