Unless you have been hiding, I would imagine that most people are aware that the 6th February celebrates 100 years of women getting the vote in the UK (albeit you had to be over thirty and/or a property owner!).
It feels like a time to use and create some positivity around how far we, as women have come.
There are numerous changes to be made regarding women in the workplace, in sport, and in the home. In fact the World Economic Forum in 2017, calculated it will be another 100 years until the disparity in pay between men and women disappears globally.
However, the last hundred years have seen some exceptional developments:
We have the same access to education as men.
We can apply for the same jobs; until 1919 women were prevented from joining certain professions such as accountancy and law on the grounds of sex.
In 1958 women were accepted into the House of Lords, and by 1973 due to considerable campaigning by women in the financial sector, we were able to work in The London Stock Exchange.
We had our first female Prime Minister in 1979, and now have a second (America has still to achieve this).
We can have our own bank account, take out loans, and credit cards.
There are women running hospitals and large corporations.
We compete in sport – there was an FA ban on women playing football games on members grounds for fifty years from 1921-1971!
And we continue to fight for equality. And it is about equality; of opportunity, rather than outcome.
As women we can now choose to work, we can take on senior roles, we can have a family and continue to work, and manage our homes, and our social lives, and our health and fitness. In fact there are a lot of pressures on us now to ‘do it all’; to ‘do it all’ successfully, with no complaints and without asking for help.
Is this the result of equal rights? or have we just become determined to do everything ourselves?
Whatever the reason we are achieving more now than we ever have in history; but at what cost to ourselves?
We may be excelling in the workplace and providing the best that we can for our children and families, but often we don’t have the capacity to look after ourselves as well. Something has to give and often it’s our stress levels that rise.
A 2017 report by the HSE indicates that women suffer greater stress, depression, or anxiety in the workplace compared with men.
The Guardian suggested this would be influenced by the additional pressures of familial responsibilities and sexism in the work place.
So what can we do to ensure that we continue our drive for equality, pursue the career, and the personal goals that we want, whilst maintaining our health?
Having access to a strong support network is a huge benefit. Just allowing yourself time out with those you care about, who understand the need to vent, and can be there through the tougher times.
Utilising the few minutes before sleeping to read a book (even if it’s only three pages!) instead of checking work emails or social media.
Maximising time on the weekend to spend it with friends and family, or doing something we love. Professor Sir Carey Cooper suggests that “we all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation, or exercise”.
When we are so busy our diet also tends to suffer. Which leads to a ‘Catch 22’ situation: We’ll eat foods which are quick and easy. Our energy hungry minds trigger a craving for foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. This in turn provides a sharp spike of energy, and then we crash, feeling tired, lethargic, and experience guilt over our food choices.
The simplest way to avoid this, is by carrying healthy snacks in your bag; dried nuts and fruit is a good choice due to the protein and fibre. Bananas are brilliant, and snack bars that contain plenty of oats are good, just be aware of the amount of sugar and fat as well.
If you don’t have time to batch cook your weekly meals on a Sunday night, look for the calorie controlled ready meals, but again be away of additives, sugar, salt, and fat . These meals, although they may not look much, can easily be bulked out by plenty of vegetables with few additional calories. If you have an extra five minutes, stir fry’s are an excellent choice.
The difficult truth is that even super-performing women struggle to juggle the various demands on their lives.
LIFE Acrobat was formed in part due to the recognition of this fact; our clients delegate the research, effort, energy and time required in planning and managing;
Stress, Anxiety & Depression
Our clients report greater confidence, energy and vitality, with benefits for their immediate family and in the decisions that they make; both at home and in the workplace.
So one hundred years have seen numerous positive changes for women, and more will happen, but we need to be mindful of our needs as individuals, and look after ourselves in order to perform to the best of our ability.
If you are interested in finding out how LIFE Acrobat can take some of the load on your behalf please do get in touch