FIND THE BALANCE AND BETTER YOUR WORLD
INTERNATIONAL Women’s Day, celebrated globally on March 8, has become a globally recognised day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women the world over. This year’s theme, #BalanceforBetter (Better the balance, better the world) marks a call to action for accelerating gender balance.
The latest World Economic Forum (WEF) Gender Gap Report revealed that inequality around the world was widening.
It is now estimated that, at the current pace, it will take 108 years globally and 135 years in sub-Saharan Africa before gender parity across all indicators is achieved.
Despite the growing body of research that confirms that female leadership leads to stronger companies, the representation of women on the boards of South African corporate companies remains dismally low.
Christelle Colman, the managing director of Elite Risk Acceptances, a tailored short-term insurance that aimed at high-net-worth individuals, highlights the importance of finding the right balance.
“Many women want it all. They want a career, while at the same time wanting to be a good partner and mother. Women by nature are great multitaskers, but when attempting to juggle so many balls in the air, eventually something will have to give. It’s important to be realistic in order to be successful.”
She offers seven tips to women who want to address the corporate gender imbalance while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
1. Build a brand
Use the platform that social media provides to build a strong, professional personal brand and to stay connected with the global community.
Always be mindful of what you are posting, these platforms often serve as a first impression for many employers and can prove to be the key differentiator between you and your dream job.
2. Ignore the jealousy
There will always be some sort of envy in the workplace, whether gender-oriented or a form of hierarchical jealousy.
The key is to focus on the task at hand and ensure that you are clear about your own career goals in order not to lose focus.
3. Money talks
My advice for women to overcome this hurdle is to lean in and insist on earning your due.
Our constitution promotes gender equality at all times and it is firmly within your rights to insist in being paid an equal salary to men.
If you are in a position of power, make sure you bring the change you would like to see in the workplace to pave the way for those still making their way up the ladder.
4. A man is not a plan
There is no doubt in my mind, that one of the most important milestones in a woman’s life is true financial independence. Make sure that you are in full control of your financial well-being.
While we cannot deny the amazing feeling of achievement when you own that first Louis Vuitton handbag, buying it cash with your own money is really what it is all about.
5. Join a club
Make time and effort to join a female networking club, such as Future Females. There you will find like-minded women to network with, who will also understand your unique challenges as a woman in business and provide support through trying times.
6. Find your style
Being a working mother means that you have no time.
If you are clear on your personal fashion style and you keep it simple, your life will be so much easier. Dressing in the morning and packing for business trips becomes a breeze.
My advice is first and foremost to stick with a colour theme such as black, white and cream with a splash of red on the lips (advice taken from Coco Chanel).
7. Health is wealth
It does not matter how busy you are. There is always time to exercise. When your children are young, find a trainer and go to the gym at 5am.
That means you will never have an excuse not to go and your exercise regime will be done by the time your family wakes up.
You have to be unapologetic about this alone time because your health is your wealth.
Colman stresses the importance of being your authentic self. “It will give you the opportunity to lead by example at all times. It is true that if you are living your authentic self, you will never have any competition.”
Christelle Colman is the Managing Director of Elite Risk Acceptances.