Globiles Spotlight is the feature where we give our most interesting and vocal members a stage on which to shine.
Here, she talks to us about gender roles in today’s professional environment.
– Interview by Andrea Maltman
G: You created the website “Changing Women” – can you summarize what exactly you feel needs changing regarding the image of modern women?
S: the questions around gender equality and gender change are big subjects and the approach for Changing Women is to keep it simple, focusing on “the changing woman”.
The aim is to promote positive images of real women whose bodies and minds change during the course of their life experiences.
G: Why do you feel you are the one to do this shifting?
S: Probably the best answer here would be because I can. I am an observer and strategist, so I have observed a great many things over the years.
I have more tolerance for people and I think that will help me to be a change agent on a global scale.
I have seen and done what works and what doesn’t work and I have begun to understand why society is the way that it is.
G: Globiles is about professional life and social mobility on a global/international scale. Do you think men and women truly enjoy equal access to these two experiences?
S: I think the degree of equality here varies depending on a couple of factors: First, what country or cultural restrictions are imposed on you, what restrictions you impose on yourself and finally, what restrictions are imposed on you by others.
In short, I don’t think that we can yet say that men and women enjoy equal access to professional achievement or social mobility.
G: In your blog you discuss the term of gender economics, what role does this concept play in business and professional life?
It is an important aspect of our social and business climate today and certainly very important as we move into the future.
In the gender economy, we have reduced portions of the population to passive consumers, making indirect economic input rather than direct input. Stabilising the balance between indirect and direct impact has a role developing our economic future.
G: What advice would you give to women who want to scale the heights of their corporate or business environment?
S: Be true to yourself and try to do the work that you want to do. Once you are in the corporate environment, learn how the game is played. Understand the politics of climbing the ladder and be wary of people that want you to fail.
Above all, don’t apologise for being a female! But do try to harness some of the traits that assist men in business-promoting yourself, speaking in solutions not complaints and not taking business dealings personally.
G: Once there, do you believe there is camaraderie amongst the ‘sisterhood’, or a tendency to join the boys club, as it were.
S: Unfortunately I don’t think that this is the norm in the same way as it is for men. Men build strong networks, and compete head to head for promotion using the traditional “old boys” network, whereas in my experience, women seem to spend time competing against each other instead of working together.
It is such a shame because if they used their “woman-ness” they would know that the greatest assets that they have is compassion, intuition, the ability to work as a team and support each other.
The good news is that I think this trend is slowly changing, but it really needs to be addressed at school while girls are developing. Teach them to be happy with the self instead of looking outside of themselves for validation, working on self esteem will help them later in the workplace.
G: In your experience, have you found professional dealings to be easier with women or men?
S: I have mostly worked in male environments, construction and then Information Technology so I am used to working with men and find them to be easier than women.
I think that men are less complicated in the workplace and, as I said in the previous question, once you understand the game you know how to deal with it.
The absolute worst scenario is when another female tries to manipulate the men around you. Men are, in my experience, easily distracted by a beautiful woman, and often don’t pick up on the subtle manipulations and put downs of other women
I would say that every time I have seen this behaviour, the company, or the men in question have come off second best because they have made decisions that are not based on sound judgement.
G: As well as your writing and commentary on your website and blog, you are also an entrepreneur. Tell us about you business ventures and projects.
S: Since closing my consulting company in 2010 I have been doing lots of different projects. I helped my eldest daughter develop her range of beauty products, Alli’s Stuff, and sell these through my lifestyle portal http://inthebushatthebeach.com
I am also consolidating my Integrity Management Methodology which I wrote in 1997, https://integritymanagementmethodology.wordpress.com
I hope to work within a specific niche, which will look at imbedding integrity and improving business performance by linking environmental responsibility, cultural sensitivity, gender, and the development of new paradigms for business management.
G: You are also an accomplished public speaker, which subjects are you most passionate about?
S: I love talking about equality and integrity in business. I have also spoken on subjects like outsourcing, project management, leadership and managing diversity.
I have been well known as a International Leader in the field of project management and have spoken many times on that subject.
Lastly my most recent passion is about Changing Women and speaking about the ways that the Changing Woman can help to change the world by harnessing their own inner power and strength. This is just so important and something that I am extremely passionate about.
If you’d like to know more about Susanne, contact her on Globiles or check out her websites:
Globiles is “A community of the global and mobile, sharing insights and contacts online and offline”