FWD Column: Lyndsey Cambridge
Lyndsey Cambridge, FWD Head of Engagement & Communications, shares why it’s so important that we continue to champion women in the workplace
The latest, hugely popular Women in Wholesale Speed Mentoring event took place recently, and the noise of more than 100 women catching up, exchanging news and networking filled the window-lined lunch space. There was a buzz unlike any other conference I’ve attended (and there have been plenty of them!). It got me wondering why an atmosphere fizzing with this type of energy is created when we bring women together to champion each other.
Let’s strip it right back: ‘mum-boss’ and ‘working mum’. They’re phrases I’ve never warmed to, but many an influencer and all-star top biz performers have hung their hat on these slogans and shouted them from the rooftops (or perfectly curated chaos memes on Insta). Fair play, I get it. Being a mum is a full time job, and having a full-time job that you actually receive a pay cheque for on top of that means you’re, well, busy.
It’s a lot. And no doubt it’s an achievement to be spinning all the plates. But let’s not forget dads do it too. And I’ve never heard ‘dad-boss’ ride the social media waves. Frankly, I hope I never do. But there’s a reason why these terms exist, and why there are plenty of women out there proudly flying the hashtagged flags for the working mothers of this world.
EQUALITY AND EQUITY
Equality and equity are terms I’ve become increasingly aware of since returning to the world of work after seven years at home raising babies. It genuinely hadn’t occurred to me when I re-entered the workplace that women may be overlooked and underpaid to the extent that they require a male ally in the office. Something Women in Wholesale has recognised as a necessary accessory in our sector.
But it’s not new is it, this notion of equality? Women being treated as equal to their male colleagues has long been in the media spotlight and a focus of campaign groups. Nothing screamed INEQUALITY as loudly as the Gender Pay Gap movement, which threw into sharp focus the brazen disparity in salaries. Or Women in Wholesale’s tally up of female board members as part of its 2022 research with TWC. While it has improved over the last five years, it remains woefully low.
But there are real barriers out there that hinder women when climbing the corporate ladder (I have two of them that need collecting from school shortly) but the thing is, no one understands these barriers better than other women. So bringing us all together in a space to pull back the corporate mask and get under the skin of what is holding us back from being the best version of ourselves, or reaching our career goals, is invigorating. It’s refreshing. And it makes me breathe a sigh of relief. Because it’s safety in numbers. It’s learning from women that have a shared experience. It’s companionship in a world that can feel underwhelmingly hamster-wheel like. Repetitive and almost impossible to leap in an upwards direction.
Sure, we have a long way to go to create true equality. I’m not naïve, perhaps absolute is an aim too high, for as the old saying goes, can you ever really have it all?
But this buzz, this loud beating hum of noise, enthusiasm and energy pouring out of this event, full of women, has reassured me that women in wholesale matter. And we are being heard.equality FWD FWD column gender Lyndsey Cambridge Women in Wholesale