by Judy M McCutcheon
Go to school and get a good education so that you could get a good job, get a husband, good or bad does not matter; marry, and start making and raising children. Take care of your man and be a dutiful wife. This was the total of a woman’s life. However, we were created for much more than that. I know that we are on this long road to gender parity and yes, women have been making major strides in recent years. But, can we be effective in the bedroom as well as in the boardroom or does it have to be an either-or situation?
The education, employment, and empowerment of women everywhere could be a key factor in economic viability and poverty alleviation for a country; but can the bedroom, boardroom situation coexist and still be effective? I have a fundamental belief that sometimes how you do one thing reflects how you do everything; therefore, could it be that who you are at home is who you are in business? Our relationships, our desires, and our power dynamics all come together to make us who we are. We tend to think that we can separate the pieces, but it becomes impossible because we are who we are. Relationship and power dynamics exist in the home as well as the office, and it might serve us well in business if we are willing to peel back some of the layers of our personal lives and take a good look.
Are women expected to play a role either in the bedroom or boardroom? This either-or scenario is a false contradiction; it is piffle created by short-sightedness that tricks us into believing we are unable to do both. Women create value in any situation, whether we are stay-at-home mothers nurturing and developing the next generation of human capital or being economically productive in the workplace or creating value in our businesses. The value created by a mother who stays at home raising her kids are just as important as the value created by those who choose to work. According to research the average life expectancy for a woman is 81 years. Therefore we have 60 plus adult years to build enough economic sustenance to take care of ourselves and our families. And for those who choose to have a husband/live-in partner, it is important to ensure that you find the delicate balance between the executive chair and your home. As an executive tasked with resolving challenges daily and giving directives at work, it can be difficult to tone down that strong, driven, always in control energy at home. You must come to the realisation that your partners are just that and not your employees. At work, you expect certain things of yourself, you push yourself to the limit and beyond because it could feel like you must constantly prove that you are worthy of being at the mahogany table. However, it is critical that you make the distinction, if you don’t, you could end up ruining a good thing at home.
Studies show that women bring new knowledge, skills and networks to the workplace, women are known to take fewer uncalled-for risks and are more motivated to make contributions to their organisations in ways that help to build the cohesiveness of their teams and the strength of the organisation. A Standards and Poors analysis revealed that for companies which pursued innovation as a strategy, the more women they had in top management, the more market value they were able to create. These studies are indeed revealing, and men, please don’t think that women are making strides and that you would be left behind because these studies also show that men who help with chores in the house have happier partners. There was less conflict in the home and the divorce rates were lower – in other words, happy wife, happy life. Men and women who work hard together also play harder together – good news all around. Proverbs 31 is one of my favourites; it encapsulates the epitome of a virtuous woman. It talks about a financially astute woman, who trades, manages, and treats her employees well and honours her husband and herself. Proverbs 31 tells us that this either-or of boardroom or bedroom is a falsity that has been perpetuated and has no basis. Sisters, we can do both and do so with finesses, we can move between the boardroom and the bedroom with ease and grace, don’t be fooled into thinking otherwise. So, go and be your amazing, awesome, powerful, charming self, whether you are in the bedroom or the boardroom. #TakeTheShacklesOff.
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Judy McCutcheon is a partner in the firm Go Blue Inc, a Human Development Company. www.goblueinc.net