By Melanie Fitzpatrick ‑ March 5, 2020
Equality is often mis-used and mis-understood and it drives me a little crazy when people latch onto this as the answer to the world’s problems! I also have to admit, I am not a fan of the label of ‘women’… We are all people. All people who can make a difference, regardless of gender, background, beliefs… if a choice is made to be brave and step out. Gender equality is not just the responsibility of women. Collectively, we can make change happen and help to create a gender equal world. My view is this change will take all of us to behave differently and to celebrate the differences of thinking, which is actually the value of diversity, to create a better world. If everyone was the same, we would achieve very little!
My personal story is long and starts at school where I struggled to read. I felt different and avoided being at the front of class or being the ‘one’ to read out loud! My Father painstakingly spent hours and hours helping me, and eventually I cracked it! He was a powerful role model, and still fortunately remains so. He left school at 15 and fought hard to build a future for his family, an incredible man. This was when a common theme for me in that my role models have been mostly great men who are humble, open, smart and passionate who have helped me along the way by encouraging me to be myself. I am lucky to have a wonderful husband, who has been incredible in his strength of support and guidance, and a son of 8 years old who I am determined will have a deep appreciation that everyone is equal, no matter what.
I went on from struggling at school to flying through, eventually landing 10 GCSEs, 3 A-levels and a First-class degree; followed by a Post-graduate Diploma. I was Managing Director running a business by the time I was 30 and in a global CMO role by the time I was 33! Since then, my last three Executive positions have been global and I’ve been one woman with five, six or seven men. I get asked a lot of questions about – how have you coped!? My answer is, I have never tried to be something I am not. I have never tried to play the ‘male’ game (I’ve seen many women try this and fail), I have kept my humility and sense of humour, I have worked really hard, been passionate about teaching people around me and stood firm on the fact that I have value to add. And finally, I have been privileged to have some amazing bosses who have helped me and given me the support needed to be successful. Is it easy, no, but perfectly achievable.
Don’t fake your beliefs, do something real about making this world equal for all #EachforEqual for #IWD2020.
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