My personal thanks to you Emily, Elizabeth, Emmeline, Ada… and all those like you for making this happen
I was in a meeting recently, explaining to a client why his company should use Kiln’s services. It was a tough and challenging meeting and it felt like I was on Dragon’s Den, with questions about Kiln’s turnover, projections for the next year, operational processes and so on… but at no point was I judged for being a woman.
I take it for granted that I can sell Kiln on its merits, talents, abilities and pedigree. It’s the 21st Century and I have as much right to be in business as anyone else. Even 50 years ago it would be unusual for women to be business owners, and a 100 years ago it would have been the exception.
So what gives me this right?
Well a group of very brave women in the early 1900s, who fought for equal rights for women and our right to vote.
More than nine million women shunned the polling booths in the last general election, one million more than men.
It’s hard to imagine how hard fought their victory was and sometimes I think we as women of today are quite blasé about those Edwardian females who campaigned for equality. We’ve never known any different, we accept it as our right.
Elizabeth Andrews, a suffragette, wrote:
“We were told when agitating for the Vote – often very patronisingly by men – that women’s place was to fit the child for the world. We retorted that if it was women’s place to fit the child for the world, it was also her place to fit the world for the child. And before we could do either, we must take an interest in politics. No nation grows faster than its women. The Vote is now our birthright. Let us treasure it.”
So I want to say thank you to Emily, Elizabeth, Emmeline, Ada… and all those like you.
Your impact on the world has made it possible for me to work in what used to be a ‘man’s world’, to stand, to be accepted as their equal. They seek and value my opinion and as long as I can say hand on heart that I am knowledgeable, passionate about my work, meet and even exceed our customer expectations, then I know I have the right to be here.
The women of today need to now show the true power of women in business, our right has been earned and its now time we use that right!
Hilary Clinton – US Politician
“We need to understand that there is no formula for how women should lead their lives. That is why we must respect the choices that each woman makes for herself and her family. Every woman deserves the chance to realize her God-given potential.”
Modern day suffragettes – let’s not forget those who still campaign for equal rights:
Maggie Aderin-Pocock – Space scientist
“People often respond with surprise to the fact that I’m a space scientist – they’re not expecting to see a black woman in the role – and I’d like to see a time when those barriers didn’t exist, when girls believed they could do anything”
Jo Brand – Comedian
“Fighting for women’s rights might sometimes be depressing, and might sometimes feel like you’re just banging on, but it’s as necessary as ever.”
Tony Benn – British Politician
“Every constituency in Britain should have two representatives – a man and a woman – thus giving women an equal representation in parliament to strengthen their voice.”
Sir Patrick Stewart – Actor
“The backbone of a modern suffragette agenda must be this question: why, in 2013, do two women die every week as a result of domestic violence? This statistic is utterly incomprehensible to me.”
Celebrating my right to vote
So as a woman with the right to vote, I am pleased to celebrate the bravery of those who campaigned for this vote and the right for us to work and live as equals with men.
There were 9 million women at the last general election who didn’t realise how precious our right to vote is. Such a statistic shows how quickly history can be forgotten and taken for granted – it’s less than 100 years since women won the right to vote, less than 100 years since women were ridiculed, beaten, tortured and even died in the name of equal rights.
It’s our responsibility to carry our equal rights with pride. To vote, to work side by side with men as their equal, and be thankful to those women who made it possible.
So thank you again, one last time, to the suffragettes who made it possible for me to be a woman in a meeting room of men, pitching a business plan and being heard and evaluated on the merits of Kiln, not on my gender.
Shame on any woman who doesn’t use their vote today!
footnote: In the middle of writing this blog I received a phone call from a client… a man, followed by an email to say “great job Louise” and the solution I’ve just sent him is the best the Kiln team has delivered. And the outcome of that meeting? Well, all I can say is watch this space… Now that’s what makes me happy!
Louise Cox is a Project Manager and Learning Designer with over twenty years’ experience. She has worked on award winning learning projects. If you want to speak to Louise personally about an e-learning project then call her on 07973 638014 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.