I am a woman. That means that this article may have some bias to it. Not necessarily, but I did want to be upfront about it. It also probably means that I know what I’m talking about 🙂 In recognition of International Woman’s Day yesterday, it seemed an appropriate topic for my blog post.
- Greater Household Responsibilities – Although women have come forward leaps and bounds from 100 years ago, we still have a ways to go. It seems as though there is more equality in a lot of the households with men and husbands picking up cooking, or cleaning, it usually is still viewed as they are “helping” their wife/partner/spouse. And it invariably means that it is up to us women to remember to buy the dishwashing detergent or the toilet paper so that the household doesn’t run out.
- Greater Family Responsibilities – Similar to above, the weight of raising the kids has become much more equal between both parents. Statistics show, however, that the equality seems to be when the kids are home. If the kids are outside of the house, at school, at extra-curricular, or are sick, the majority of the time, it is the woman in the household that deals with the challenges.
- We Get Pregnant – I know. You are thinking, well, of course you do. But that also means that we have to work harder in our careers because we’ve taken a hiatus. In some careers, taking a year off can be a huge limiting factor in your growth. Which means that we have to work harder.
- We Aren’t as Aggressive – I’m talking in generalities of course, but most women find aggression in their nature to be a turn off. We tend to believe that we don’t need to be as relentless in our pursuit of our goals as men do, but that if we do our jobs well, we will be recognized. Although in some cases this is true, it also means that it likely takes longer. A little aggression isn’t a bad thing to get what you want 🙂
- We Don’t Apply – Surveys have shown that when men feel that they are 50% qualified for a position, they will apply, whereas women don’t feel that they are qualified until they know and understand 80% of the role. This prevents the speed at which women will rise in positions, simply because we don’t feel we are qualified.
- We Need Things to be Perfect – Although this is certainly not true of all women, for most women it absolutely is. It also isn’t necessary that something needs to be perfect, but that we need to feel like we’ve done all that we could. Again, not true from men. Most men tend to believe that if it’s 80% there, it’s good to go.
- We Don’t Jump In With Two Feet – Inherently in the nature of women is to be cautious. We rarely barrel ahead with new ideas, or try to be at the front of the pack until we are sure that something will succeed. We need to know everything and have solutions mapped out before we throw our hat into the ring.
- We Don’t Dream as Big – This one is becoming less and less of an obstacle for us, as we have more strong, successful role models to follow. But centuries of conditioning are still hard to overcome. We need to think bigger, and believe bigger and tackle the big challenges. It is only with bigger goals and dreams that we will make it easier for our daughters.
- Banks Don’t Like Us – Okay, that one may be a little harsh 🙂 But most banks have a harder time lending women and women-owned businesses money as compared to men. I’m going to share a personal story that exemplifies this. When I was 28 I had decided that I wanted to buy my first house. I was so excited, had saved up the down payment, plus a cushion for legal fees, closing costs, moving costs, furnishings had calculated the monthly payments I could comfortably carry, and so I was ready. I was unmarried at the time, but had a good solid job for several years, a stellar credit rating and was looking for a starter home that I knew I could comfortably carry on my salary. I approached the bank that I had been doing business with since I was in University thinking that they know me, know my history, of course they would lend me money! I’m sure that you know where this is going…..my bank manager at the time told me how much they appreciated my business for the last 10 years, but could I possibly get my dad to co-sign my loan with me….Yup….And they asked for my dad, not my mom……I went to all the big banks and got turned down by all of them, unless my father would co-sign the mortgage. My dad would have happily done it, but for me it was the principle of it. And if you know me at all, you know I’m big on principle 🙂 I finally found a mortgage agent who went to bat for me and got me a mortgage and my first home, and I’ve been loyal with every mortgage since then being handled by them.
So there are 9 reasons why we, as women, have to work harder than men. Not only are there external obstacles that hold us back, but it is the internal ones that are so much more harmful. It is the ones that prevent us from moving forward that we have complete control over.
So on this very important International Women’s Day – rejoice in the power of women, and girls, let’s take over the world!
Copyright: agenturfotografin / 123RF Stock Photo
Interesting point about women wanting perfection and most men settling for 80%. Could be true however perfection isn’t something attainable as we all know (men and women).
As the famed coach Vince Lombardi said when he took over the floundering Green Bay Packers in 1959 and turned them into 5 time champions in 9 years said, “we will relentlessly pursue perfection, but although we will never reach it we will attain excellence.”
And as my late father, a senior project manager and professional engineer, once told me, “I strive for 90% on engineering jobs, because trying to get that last 10% costs you as much or more as the first 90% did.
So maybe men can raise the bar to 90% and women can lower it a bit (?)
Thanks for your comments Kevin. I love that quote by Vince Lombardi, and it is definitely true. The woman in me fights against your father’s advice…I struggle all of the time to let go at 90%….I could probably lower it to 99.9% or if I really force myself, 98%, but 90% feels to me like it’s not done 🙂
Does 99.9% satisfy the need to lower it a bit 🙂
Excellent article and every bit as relevant today! Thank you Juliet.
Personally in my opinion men have it WAY easier then women and it’s unfair.