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The f-word

In a discussion with a male colleague the other day, he hit me out of the blue when he labeled me with the f-word. No, not that one. He asked if I am a feminist. I was surprised – it’s not a term that one often hears these days. In our politically correct world, it’s attached to rather unattractive connotations of bra-burning, anti-meritocracy and distinctly unfeminine behavior. So I felt a bit uncomfortable embracing the term as part of my being.

But of course, a feminist I am. The Oxford Dictionary defines feminism as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes”. And I not only live in hope, but am trying through sphinxx to ensure there is equality for women in every leadership opportunity. I’ve held a number of senior roles, the last being an executive role where I was one of only 2 female line managers reporting to the COO. It was tough, challenging and enjoyable, but also lonely. It gave me much of the inspiration to establish sphinxx.

Now in my role as sheEO of sphinxx I receive almost daily emails from women who are enduring similar experiences. Negotiating the corporate culture is tough when you’re a minority, and gender minority is no different. But despite all of this, I love being a woman in business. It’s fun watching the guys taking the well traveled path and then finding a different, more innovative way to get your message across.

As a woman I choose not to believe in the glass ceiling theory: I think that with integrity, intelligence and persistence, and a bit of guts, as a woman one can match the men in any leadership stakes. And the increasing number of women achieving leadership success says to me that it is indeed possible, if you want it enough.

Call me a feminist; but I really do believe in equality of the sexes. No one has been able to convince me otherwise, yet.

What’s your feelings on the term “feminist” – are you one and are the men in your workplace feminists too?  Post your reply:


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