I started thinking about it, some years ago, when we hosted social events for our staff at the office.
There were those, both management and staff, who pitched in, but there were many more who had a wonderful evening, said thank you very politely at the end, and left the execs and senior managers loading dishwashers and generally tidying up.
Or to be more specific, is it having a real effect on the workplace?
As a concept, it’s been around for 30 years. Every time I mention it, though, I have to explain what it is!
Personal Case Study
Some years ago I was the president of a mostly male IT Association. (I believe I am still the only female president they have had since 1934). We needed to hire a new Executive Director. As a member of the ManCo, we interviewed a number of candidates, shortlisted them to three (two men, one woman) and conducted final interviews.
Focusing on women’s issues this month has heightened my awareness of a number of different attitudes that women face in the business world.
When I first heard about benevolent sexism, I thought “at least its good natured!” Some very high powered women disillusioned me on that one.
Possibly an extension of paternalism, benevolent sexism, and his ugly brother, hostile sexism, have become a subject of much study. And then there is the stepbrother, ambivalent sexism, to add to the mix.
The Daily Beast published a story in about 18 months ago with statistics that showed women being quoted 1 in 5 times on woman's issues. The article continued with stats on news shows showing a very similar picture. The Daily Beast
I haven't been able to find similar statistics for South Africa, but am not convinced it would be very different.
While we celebrate the whole month as Woman's Month in South Africa, with numerous events and celebrations, it really is about August 9th, 1956 when approximately 20 000 women marched on Pretoria to deliver a petition to JG Strydom, the Prime Minister. (See extract in Notes)
Led by Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu and Sophia Williams-De Bruyn, some carrying the children of their employers on their backs, they stood in silence for 30 minutes, in a powerful objection to the "pass" that black South Africans had to carry at all times.
Yes, women are managing companies but do we still have our egos in domesticity? Readers, I have to admit I love to cook.
Yes, I am a pressure cook (not to be confused with a pressure cooker, which I have never owned. I nearly won one last year, but the alternative prize was a weekend away, and under serious pressure from my husband, chose the latter. It was nice to spend a free weekend in the Midlands, but it didn’t save the enormous amounts of cooking time that I hear a pressure cooker does…)
Back to being a pressure cook – it is a two part definition: