The Struggles of Being A Young Career-Focused Woman in 2018

Career
The Struggles of Being A Young Career-Focused Woman in 2018 | Career | The Chronicles of Carly

The Struggles of Being A Young Career-Focused Woman in 2018

I am back! I have had my head deep in every book, forum, blog, podcast and who knows what else in preparation for the next phase of my life. If either mother is reading this, no it is not a baby.

And no, I am not telling you what it is just yet (I am weirdly afraid of jinxing things). What I will tell you is that should all things go to plan, I will be moving up the career ladder.

So why I am telling you this?

Over the past two months, as the date nears closer and closer, sh*t is becoming real and the nerves are kicking in. Don’t get me wrong, I am very very excited and grateful for this opportunity. But ‘with great power comes great responsibility’. Did I just quote a Spiderman movie? Yes yes, I did. Should be superhero-loving boyfriend be proud of me? Yes, yes he should.

Anyway, I digress. The point is that great responsibility is an enormous amount of pressure and when a lot is riding on your shoulders it is easy to let all types of doubt manifest.

There is the self-doubt…

“What if I fail?’ ‘I am not good enough!’ ‘I can’t possibly do this.’ ‘I don’t know what I am doing.’ ‘I can’t lead people.’ ‘Why would people respect and trust me?’ …you know the negative stuff I am talking about, we all do it. Some of us, daily.

And then there is society’s doubt (or perceived doubt)…

As a 22-year-old female, I am very aware that I am, you guessed it, a 22-year-old female. But I do love the way that society continues to point it out. I try to take the emotions out of the situation and hold my ground. I know it is easy to believe that all of male-kind is out to get you when you tell yourself that every single day and ready exclusively #Feminist101 kind of content.

I am about to give you a list of statistics to prove my point but before I do I want to tell you a personal story of mine that happened this week. I just feel like it proves my point so perfectly (and it kind of inspired me to write this).

I went to a business event in the city. Heading to the event I had no question in my mind of why I was going. I am deep in ‘Operation: Get Smart’ and was excited to be learning new things and broadening my horizons. When I got there I was surrounded by men (almost exclusively white). I hung back and was one of the last to enter the seminar as I was genuinely interested in seeing the crowd sitting down.

At the event there were 90 people: I counted 6 women (all in the late 30s onwards) leaving 83 men (all in their early 30s onwards) and me. Safe to say, I quickly felt out of place. Later that evening I was talking to someone and they were quick to point out that my age and gender posed “a potential barrier’ for me. I do not think he meant it in any malicious way, he was just being honest but it really served as a very personal-reminder that as an ambitious-woman I do have some “potential barriers” in my way.

Okay… now for the fun part….the hard facts:

While I try to read a healthy blend of content (reading exclusively #Feminist101 content will skew your perception) and not let my age or gender define me, the fact remains that in Australia:

  • Women earn 85c to a man’s $1 (a 15.3% difference)
  • 1 in 2 women will experience workplace discrimination
  • 1 in 2 women will experience sexual harassment (with 1 in 3 experiencing sexual violence) and;
  • Australia (a so-called ‘progressive nation’) ranks 48th in the world in terms of female representation in politics. Would you believe me if I said we are going backward? Because we used to be ranked 32nd a decade ago.

2018 statistics according to the Australian Government’s Human Rights Commission

People possessing a vagina in Australia equal 50.7% of the population. Why does the overall Australian workforce not represent that?

Now, the figures above was a general look at women. The statistics for women in executive/leadership roles looks even bleaker:

  • Out of the ASX’s Top 200 Australian companies, only 9 are headed by a female (a 4.5% representation). An additional 10 women held seats in boards, but the representation here is still very VERY average.
  • There is a strong disproportion of women working in an industry and women leading in an industry. For example, women represent 50% of the real estate industry, but only 3% of CEO positions are held by females. Education, famous for being a ‘female-dominated’ industry, is a 71% strong female workforce. But just 34% of CEO roles are held by women. The disparity is real.

I am proud of how far we, as a society, have come in the past 20, 30 and 40 years. Hell, these studies would not have been conducted 75 years ago. Women were expected to work until marriage and god forbid you went back to work post-children. The statistics show us the battle for women continues.

Disclaimer: I only very briefly covered the nuisances of woman-to-man discrepancies. I do not have enough battery power in my laptop or caffeinated-energy to go through the many other issues that women face (e.g. superannuation discrepancies and child-bearing-career-detonation I am looking at you).

Great, well I am still a woman. What am I meant to do?

This brings me to where I am at now. I cannot change the fact that I am a woman and I do not want to change the fact that my career is advancing. I assume that if you are still reading this blog, then you are in the same or similar position. So what can we do?

Step 1 | Acknowledge the facts.

This step is a double-edged sword. You need to know the facts without a) psyching yourself out and b) falling victim to the ‘oh no the whole world is against me’ stance.
Knowing the facts is going to enable you to know what you are up against. The way I like to think is like this: you can keep going your day-to-day life blind or you can go to the optometrist, get all the facts, find yourself a sexy pair of glasses and move on with your life seeing clearly.

Step 2 | Get yourself educated

This step is the big one. You are dealing with self-doubt in (and I hate this phrase) but a ‘man’s world.’ Your biggest weapon is your brain. What does any good soldier do before they go to war? Train and exercise their hearts out. So get your head deep in books, podcasts, tutorials, blogs, news sources, SkillShare, Lynda, LinkedIn… you get the f***ing point. Being the most educated and competent version of you will do two massive things:

  1. It will give you confidence (see you later self-doubt)
  2. You will use that confidence to kick misogyny in the dick and carry on achieving your career goals.

As always, thank you for reading,
Carly xx

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