There is rightly a lot in the press at the moment about sexism across society and business. Danny Cotton is pushing for the term ‘Fireman’ to be abolished and ‘Firefighter’ to be used.
Pay inequality is rife and across all industries. Sometimes it’s hard to remember the Equalities Act is seven years old when we still have this divide going on.
Yesterday Theresa May invited five ‘Canary Girls’ to 10 Downing Street to say ‘thank you’ for their role in the war. All in their 90s, they recollected the dangers they worked in without even thinking about it.
Cordite was the substance they worked with in the ammunitions factories to make the explosives for the front. Exposure to this – remember, long before our stringent H&S laws, turned the users yellow like canaries.
Looking back over history we have many examples of women breaking barriers despite how impenetrable these barriers initially seemed.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson – became the first UK female doctor in the 1860s. Nancy Astor became the first female MP in 1919. Caroline Herschel was awarded the Royal Astronomical Society’s gold medal in 1828. In 1848 Mary Sommerville’s book on Physical Geography was used in schools for the next 50 years. The list goes on. It’s clear these women and every woman throughout history who has become an influence in their chosen field, may not have set out to break any glass ceilings or sexist views, but what happy by products!
I remember one of the first Asian female CEO’s said she never noticed a glass ceiling, she just got on with the job.
Sir Nicholas Winton said ethics kept him doing his work. When asked what he meant he explained humanity’s ethics of decency, kindness, acceptance etc which he also felt were now gone. If we treated each other with dignity and respect would we have the inequality we do? I doubt it.
Surely every child just needs to be nurtured to belief they can achieve anything if they believe in themselves.
What a great example the ‘Canary Girls’ and every other person of achievement is to all of us no matter our gender, culture, race etc. Any human being can achieve if they believe they can.