A woman’s place ….?

In last Thursday’s The Times newspaper there was a supplement concerning  the best companies for gender equality in the workplace.

Now I am a bloke, so I am not always that quick in working things out but for those who know me well, will know that I approach this subject with a lot of bias. I was brought up in a household that was predominantly female. For most of my working life , I worked in an environment comprised primarily of females, finally I have a wife and daughter. Some might say I am brainwashed, some may say I am soft in the head.

Well, all that maybe true but my argument is constructed on empirical evidence. Maybe that’s a bit strong , but it is based on my evidence. Within the party industry there is a large percentage of decision makers who are female. Buyers, managers, owners, creative , sellers, our market would have a very different perspective if it were not so.In my experience, they are more positive, they work harder, they tend to be more creative and they understand the market better than their male counterparts. Whether it is ‘Feminine intuition ‘, the ability to ‘multi task’ , their decision process involves a wider perspective and do not get bogged down with unnecessary detail or too focused on a particular aspect.

Yes, there are stroppy, rude , bad tempered, inefficient and lazy females, but they are as likely to be outnumbered by male equivalents. Over the years I have had that oft repeated experience of the young female buyer within major retail chains. They are no good and they cannot make decisions. In most cases this is not because they are female, it is mainly through the retailer’s attitude, poor training , not giving responsibility all of which would apply if these positions were given to men.  

Certainly, within the party industry, women are more likely to be in touch with what their customer wants. It is probably fair to say that the retailer consumer in our market is likely to be a woman, for a whole bunch of reasons , none of which are especially relevant here. The important factor is that females are often more aware of what is happening around them and react more quickly to change.

Our industry can probably hold its head high, when it comes to gender equality. At retail level , both bricks and mortar and online, many of our leading retailers, were created by women, led by women and more often than not staffed by  virtually entirely by women. Indeed, we could probably hold a beacon of light to other industries when it comes to sexual equality at th retail end. From the supply end there are many good examples however,mother level of equality has not reached the levels of the retailer.

Each gender has their own particular strengths and weaknesses. It should not be about whether one is worth more than the other, it is about enhancing and coordinating those combined strengths to maximum effect. We are different and that should be recognised. But it seems absolutely bonkers to me that the equality argument or discussion even exists. In itself it is negative and only takes time away from ensuring the best comes from both sexes.

When it comes to large organisations, the best that any European country can do is Norway, where 39% of main board directors are female. The U.K. lags way behind with approximately 23%.  

So having offended a chunk (albeit I suspect a minority)of my own customer base ( males) , I make no apology. The sooner we all get on and accept it , the sooner we can get on with making, creating , selling, supplying , helping, healing and generally improving our society and not spending so much time trying to prove that one half of society is not as equal as another. By arguing that woman are every bit as good as men, is not saying they are better, which means men are every bit as good as women. 

There is one fact , of which I am very confident. I have had first hand experience of how immense female mental strength and resilience can be. If as, a species, we ignore this powerful resource, then we do so at our peril. Sexual equality is a no brainer. For those that don’t get it, it’s a ‘win win’for all.

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