This week, I was interviewed by Marie Claire as part of their latest campaign, #BREAKFREE. It’s all about the things, large and small, that hold women back, from the pressure for ‘likes’ on social media, to being discriminated against based on your looks, race, sexuality or disability.
“We know as women, we’re capable of anything. It’s 2016 for God’s sake! But still, the most recent statistics show that less than a quarter of all senior FTSE management positions are filled by women, 86 per cent of us are the primary carers to our children, and the gender pay gap still stands at 13.9 per cent. Muslim women are 65 per cent less likely to be employed than their white female counterparts, black women are considered the ‘least desirable’ on online dating sites, and over 40 per cent of lesbians hide their sexuality from colleagues for fear of homophobia.
Even if we take intersectionality out of the equation, one in three female students will experience sexual assault at university, and 97 per cent of us feel insecure about our bodies. And while studies show that men stop progressing in their careers at 55, for women, that kicks in a decade earlier.
But it’s not all bad. We’ve ticked some big boxes in gender equality. We can tick some more.”
We most certainly can!!
The focus for #BREAKFREE this week is ‘mum guilt’ which I know a lot of parents will identify with. Here’s my contribution:
'Before I had kids I was ultra-focused and happy to work from the crack of dawn to the middle of the night. I ate, slept and breathed my job in PR and marketing and I loved it. In the process of falling in love and starting a family, I realised there was more to life than work, but I still loved being creative and wasn’t going to let go of that drive. As soon as I realised I could make enough from the commercial side of my blog to leave my old career behind, I went ahead and did just that. I don’t claim to have perfect work-life balance, but I have carved out a life that satisfies the workaholic, the creative, the free spirit and the wife/mother in me and that’s pretty damn good. There will always be people who think their way is the only way. I’m pretty thick-skinned about these things because I know I’m doing what feels right. We parents should be cheerleading each other to achieve the lives we want, not jeering and prescribing what that life should be. It’s healthy and natural as a parent to reflect on how you could realistically improve your own and your family’s lives, but if you lie awake every night questioning your every decision, racked with guilt, you’re being way too hard on yourself. If you’re doing your best, you’re doing okay.' – Emily Leary, blogger at amummytoo.co.uk @amummytoo #BREAKFREE