How do you take your coffee this International Women’s Day?
I read recently a case of a woman facing trial in Italy for being a bad housewife. She could face up to six years in jail after her husband accused her of not doing enough cooking and cleaning at home. Just last week, a man, also in Italy, who was accused of groping three female colleagues was cleared by an Italian court of sexual harassment because his behaviour was deemed by the judge as playfulness.
When I asked my friends “what do you think are the biggest challenges facing women today” my inbox was inundated with angst ridden responses.
“Still not being paid the same as men.”
Women make up 47% of the UK workforce but figures from 2014 show that for every £1 a man earns, a woman earns 80p. In the Corporate Sector is it true that only 2% at Board room level are women? Hence the depressing title of the elite women’s networking club, the 2% club.
Even in my sector – the not for profit world – only 20% of women are at the top.
Unbelievably, a progressive country like Switzerland only gave women the vote in 1972, Saudi Arabia has only just allowed women to vote and in the Vatican City, women can’t vote at all!
The Northern Powerhouse set up by George Osbourne consists of all male white council leaders, bar Julie Dove in Sheffield and Judith Blake in Leeds. Only 30% of England’s 18,000 councilors are women. And it gets worse…..
In the UK’s parliament, there are 502 men and 148 women MP’s. Of all the people in all the parliaments in the world only 13% are women.
Strong women are not taken seriously. If we are strong, we are trolled, vilified in the media and don’t get me started on the issues of body image and ageism.
Getting an employer who is child and parent friendly often is a quality women look for rather than the senior wage or position on offer.
Proudly, I am a single mum of a ten year old boy, his sole financial provider after setting up my business Cause UK so I could have the flexibility to be a mum.
I have been in high level meetings with well-known Yorkshire businessmen and often with a wink across the table have been asked to make the coffee. One sugar or two?
Clair Challenor-Chadwick is the Founder of Cause UK and Hooked Magazine, she is also a trustee of Martin House Children’s Hospice and sits on the board of Leeds Beckett University School of Business and Law.