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We Cannot Succeed When Half of Us Are Held Back

Updated: Dec 21, 2018

Today, as we celebrate International Women’s Day and honour the achievements of women, past and present, I wanted to share a new discovery with you. 

A podcast called Startup Pregnant.

In a world where leaders and start-up founders are predominantly male, topics such as motherhood and even more so pregnancy are extremely rare, especially about how they fit in with the world of work.

This podcast and blog is aimed at women executives and entrepreneurs who are either planning their family or already pregnant. It was founded by Sarah Peck, a serial entrepreneur who is tireless in her mission to change the world through entrepreneurship and motherhood. And it's brilliant. 

She is living proof that whilst pregnancy may present a few challenges to working within an office or a young start-up, there is no reason why pregnancy and entrepreneurship should be mutually exclusive. 

She is doing an amazing job at sharing other women's stories and successes with podcasts such as 'She Got Passed Over For a Promotion. Then She Started Her Empire' and 'Taking a Maternity Leave When You Run Your Own Business'. 

And her own story is incredible, she joined a tech start-up with full disclosure to her (male) boss that she wanted to start a family. To which his response was:

"That's fine. A start-up, by definition, is in the business of doing things differently."

I hope we get to hear such words more often.

However, sadly we don't and the rest of the world is still lagging behind. As the baby bump grows, I am sure that many female entrepreneurs will feel nervous as they walk into those client meetings.

Should it affect things? No, as Sarah has eloquently shown. Might it affect things? Sadly, possibly, yes.

This is a common theme across many equality debates. There are so many hidden biases in our societies that are so ingrained that we do not know any different. Why shouldn’t someone come back to work on their start-up and help to raise a very young child? Clients and co-workers who think that this is an issue are missing out. When our society sees women as second-class citizens, it is missing out.

When half of society is not able to fulfill its potential, the whole of society suffers. Women do not fail in a vacuum - when so much potential is left on the bench, everyone misses out. As Malala Yousafzai said:

“We cannot succeed when half of us are held back” 

I long for the day when I don’t have to write a blog about this on 8th of March. I hope the world our children grow up in, and not just the girls, our sons may well be fathers of daughters too.

I hope that, in their lives, the gender agenda won’t need to be promoted as actively as we feel compelled to today. 

I'd like to end the blog on the ten values suggested by the International Women’s Day website to guide us in our mission:

Justice, Dignity, Hope, Equality, Collaboration, Tenacity, Appreciation, Respect, Empathy, and Forgiveness.

If we all uphold these values as we think and act about the place of women in the world, then we will make the world a better place.

How are you promoting women in the work force and at home?

How have you balanced motherhood and work? 

Email me. I would love to hear your stories.  

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