Following a year none of us expected – or wanted – there are some positives we, as women, can take from 2020:
A record number of women took over Fortune 500 companies
Finland equalised family leave: 7 months for each parent
Scotland became the first country to provide free period products for all
President Trump lost the US election; a huge step in removing a figure of division and hate
Kamala Harris was elected the first woman, and person of colour, to become vice president of the USA
And Jacinda Ardern just did everything she could for her people whilst being the world’s youngest female head of government and mum to a toddler; watch this video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0g8Hf_WLGE&feature=emb_logo
And to start 2021, tampon tax will be abolished across the UK; meaning the UK Government has honoured its commitment to remove VAT on women’s sanitary products.
This is still nowhere near the international equality demanded and required by humanity.
Focusing just on the workplace, everyday women still go unnoticed, overlooked, belittled, or, worse, assaulted and then not daring to report it for fear of not being believed or losing their jobs. In the 2016 TUC research ‘Still just a bit of banter?’, it was reported that 52% of women polled experienced some form of sexual harassment, with 20% experiencing unwanted sexual advances. 4 out of 5 women did not report this to their employer.
Admittedly old data, but starting 2021 has much changed? We can assume that these figures will have reduced, mostly due to more people working from home and the “opportunity” being removed. But wouldn’t it be interesting to understand if these predatory acts still happened, over our Teams calls or on the odd occasion we have visited the office? Wouldn’t it also be interesting to know if the gender barrier has been removed because of virtual working, with women now being seen purely as an employee rather than a female employee?
Working in male-dominated industries and companies, it’s too easy for us to see that the mindsets of certain types of people or older generations won’t change (and didn’t in 2020): if you have breasts, you’re interchangeable… bids and proposals coordinator, document controller, business development, receptionist, PA, we can – and do – do it all!
It’s easy – and naïve – to believe that things will only get better once the older generations retire, but these attitudes unfortunately exist across all age brackets. And it is, undoubtedly, hard to challenge those senior colleagues and managers who can seemingly hold our careers in their hands. But challenge we must, because if we don’t continuously do it now, then when will we have equality in the workplace? When will we have a day where we don’t second-guess that look, or action, or conversation, and then be gaslighted for daring to suggest it was wrong? When will we go for promotion or ask for a salary raise without feeling “cheeky”?
Using what we learnt in 2020, let’s keep moving forward, be clear in our needs, set goals, and continue to challenge ourselves and those around us.
Women in Bids and Proposals (WIBAP) envisions a bidding world where gender inequality no longer exists, and we aim to achieve this by supporting individuals and organisations to take ownership of their responsibilities and make positive change.
With a refreshed strategy, WIBAP’s 2021 is already looking positive and full of plans; we hope you join us in what aims to be an exciting and progressive year.