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#BEBoldForChange – the solution is BE

8 March 2017

According to the World Economic Forum it will be 83 years before we close the global gender pay gap. As I sit at my kitchen table next to my 12 year old daughter, poring over her homework, that’s not just a disheartening prospect but feels like a massive failure.

Today is International Women’s day and the theme this year is #BeBoldForChange. This is a very profound personal calling, and with seven billion people on the planet it is easy to hide and let someone else get on and do the ‘bold bit.’ So the question that struck me was, what can we actually do about it? And more specifically, as parents what message are we giving our daughters and our sons through our actions?

Asking the Bold Questions

Our beliefs and thoughts create our actions. So I think it’s important that we examine and question the thoughts and implicit assumptions we make about the role that parents play in the workplace. For example, how would you answer the following questions?

  • Do you believe in personal fulfilment?
  • Do you believe that a woman’s place is in the home?
  • Do you believe that men should be the principal bread winner?
  • Do you believe that both men and women should ‘lean in’ domestically?
  • Are you encouraging your daughter to have a great education but expect her to stop work when she has children to stay at home and keep house?
  • Are you encouraging your son to have the same education but expect him to carrying on working full time once he is a father?
  • If you are the boss do you trust your staff to do the job without you seeing them in the office all the time?

I could carry on but hopefully you get the point I am trying to make!

Being Bold

My all-time favourite quote is by Mahatma Gandhi: ‘Be the change you want to see in the world.’

Being bold is about taking action and challenging the status quo. The bold change that I want to see in the world is where mothers no longer have to choose between their career and being there for their children. I fundamentally believe with every bone in my body that mothers (and fathers too, but I am not writing about you today) have the right to ‘have both’ as society needs them to be there to raise happy, healthy and decent human beings. When you read stats that it is costing the UK £23billion each year by not engaging these women’s brains in the workplace, it raise the obvious question: why aren’t more companies throughout the UK utilising these mothers’ brains, skills and emotional maturity?

Being bold for me meant doing something about it. So I jumped into the unknown as an entrepreneur, raided our savings and set up, a meeting place online where employers could tap into a vast overlooked talent pool of highly capable mothers who want to do a stimulating job on a part time, flexible basis. It’s the only recruitment site of its kind. Its bold mission is to disrupt the recruitment industry and revolutionise the way mothers find work – initially in the UK but being bold I have my sights on taking the platform globally. And when the time is right I want to set up the 2to3daysfoundation so that we can help mothers all over the world build businesses on terms that work for them, so that they can be the women, and mothers, that they want to be.

“Be, Do, Have”

The irony is that we spend far too much time focusing on the wrong bit! We focus on ‘doing’ – having more meetings, doing more deals, working longer hours – in the hope of ‘having’ more – more time, more money and less stress in our lives – so that we will then ‘be’ bolder, happier, healthier etc. This equation of ‘do, have, be’ needs to be flipped around to ‘be, do, have’. If we focus first on who we want to be, then work out what we want to do, then we’ll end up having the life we want to lead. We would have more time for family and friends, more money for ourselves and our business, and less stress and more fulfilment in our lives.

We are after all human-beings not human-doings!