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TGt Meets...Miffy Wilson, Owner of Just Ask Miffy - IWD Special
By Miffy Wilson, a professional VA who has just set up her own business, Just Ask Miffy , which provides freelance PA services and project management small businesses and start ups freeing them up to focus on growing their business.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is #choosetochallenge – what would you choose to challenge when it comes to gender equality or inequality this year?
I choose to challenge anyone I witness commenting or acting in a way which is discriminating someone based on their gender, race, cultural beliefs, ability or sexual orientation
Thinking of your own experience in the world of business – which inequalities, if any, have you experienced personally or witnessed around gender?
My main experiences were based around the time I had children when my manager welcomed me back after my second child and then proceeded to ask if I was now taking contraception. We parted ways soon after!
Around this time I was also incredibly surprised speaking to some members of my family (I won’t out them!) who suddenly demonstrated their very archaic beliefs around ‘the place of a woman’. Apparently, her career should always play second fiddle to her husband’s because “biologically” she was best placed to look after the kids and clean the house!
For me this has been the biggest challenge. Not so much the gender based inequality in the workplace but to experience it in my own home. THAT is my true fight. Until we all have equality at home we will never have equality in the workplace.
Have you during your career ever challenged a situation where you felt a woman (even it’s yourself) has been disadvantaged by gender?
Thankfully I haven’t ever seen anything too overt. I actually believe the main problem is more insidious. It’s in the male dominated environments and boardrooms, it’s in the ‘banter’ and the social interactions, it’s in a man’s belief that women are weak and that it is a woman’s responsibility to be the primary child carer and housekeeper.
I will always call out ‘banter’ that has gone too far, situations that are uncomfortable or opinions being voiced that belong in the dark ages.
What do you think women offer in particular to the world of business?
I don’t think it’s about what women or men are better at but leaving out 50% of the population leaves out 50% of the brainpower, 50% of the ideas and you have limited perspective.
Having a team which has different backgrounds and perspectives encourages innovation and creativity which is surely more appealing to most audiences.
Is gender important when it comes to success in business?
No! It’s not about what gender, it’s about your personality, skills, ideas and values. Just because you’re either male or female shouldn’t give you a ticket to do what you want!
Can you name any women in business you admire?
Having recently set up my own business supporting other small businesses and start ups I am amazed at how many inspirational women there are out there.
A couple of my clients (who wish to remain anonymous) run the most interesting and successful businesses. Their creativity, vision, hard work and business acumen inspired me to start my own business in the first place.
Despite all of these strengths these ladies are very humble and very happy to spend time sharing what they know with others. If I could leave the same impression on other business owners I’d consider myself complete!
Can you name any men in business you admire?
There are a couple of men locally who have focused very hard on the local community and encouraging local businesses to work together and support each other.
One in particular is great at seeing the value in a person and connecting them with others where he sees value or synergy.
Seeing this non-biased, value based, positive opinions of business owners really encourages everyone to bring their best selves forward.
Do you think women who start their own business experience more challenges than men?
I don’t think there is a generic answer to this. I think it depends on what business you are setting up and the people you are surrounded by.
There are those industries which are typically more male dominated where women are going to have to work harder to prove themselves but I think the same could be said for a man setting up in an industry which is typically more female dominated.
What do you think about the gender pay gap?
It is surprising that this still exists in this day and age. For this pay gap to still exist, for women to be deemed as worth less than men is unbelievable.
I think the problem is both an historical hangover but also where companies do not have a fair and level way of assessing what people should be earning. Explaining differences in pay between a male and female counterpart because ‘he asked’ and ‘she didn’t’ should not be accepted.
The role, experience and results should be fairly AND EQUALLY rewarded.
What do you think about the International Women’s Day movement?
I think the International Women’s Day movement has been key to raising awareness of the issues and changing opinions, attitudes and actions.
I do think it is great to see men getting involved which helps influence but also bring balance.
Without this movement I’m not sure women would have the opportunities and voices they have now.
For more information visit www.justaskmiffy.com
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