Over the last few weeks Britain has been digesting it’s exposure to the realities of the digressing female representation in British Politics. The Counting Women In campaign released a damning report not only revealing decreasing or barely moving stats on women in Politics but touched upon all industries ranging from the Police and the armed forces to the Media.
The results of the Sex and Power 2013: Who runs Britain? report are in and it doesn’t look good. Only one in four MPs are women. In comparison to our European counterparts Britain comes in a tragic third from bottom, with only 22.5% female representatives. Women make up just 5% of daily national newspaper Editors and only 10% make up the CEO’s of our banks.
Last week Women’s Views on News reported on the shocking statistics and reminded its readers of David Cameron‘s pledge that 1/3 of his ministers would be women by 2015. This pledge seems more like a distant promise judging by the Who runs Britain? research not to mention the latest reshuffle which saw more women axed from positions of power.
There are many things to be done such as positive discrimination and support for the women of tomorrow. Yet what hasn’t been asked in any of the media surrounding the report is, are any of these senior posts appealing to the women of tomorrow?
Looking at the working culture of Britain today we witness a strange hypocrisy peppered across the working life of a woman. As young women we are told to reach for top. We respond by making up the majority of UCAS applications and step into the world of work with better grades.
However, once the prep work is over here we stand in the promised land of employment and we are met with not only cultural disparities which have followed us throughout our young lives, such as the uncensored sexualisation of women in the media, but laws and processes which are representative of a bygone society.
It feels like women are being set up to fail as parental leave, childcare and flexible working for both men and women are slow moving and make equality a harder choice thus pinning Britain to the bottom of the European league table once again.
It’s true we CAN have it all. No one is telling us we can’t but who wants it when modern women appear to live in limbo hovering in a state of dissatisfaction as they are now expected to do it all or drastically sacrifice personal success in order to become, professionally, who they want to be.
This isn’t just a problem women in Britain face. American COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, continually reels off statistic after statistic demonstrating that modern women face a cultural working hurdle. Sandberg points out that from being trained to self-deprecate and attribute success to others rather than ourselves to working the same hours as men do yet completing most of the house work and child care means we are working harder just to achieve equality.
For the women of tomorrow the picture society is painting of women in power actually becomes a deterrent for aspiring women to reach the top of the career ladder thus leaving the situation unchanged as our needs are unrepresented where it matters.
To address the issues raised in many a statistical report we must address the cultural attitude and laws, which at present are not creating an appealing picture for future leaders. Quite simply, if they go on unchanged we will see the numbers continually decrease.