This week, I was out of my comfort zone. I was the guest at NRK P2 Salongen, a national radio talk show. My main message – There are not enough real female role models! Real models combing career and family, and being honest about the hard choices and help behind the scenes.
Too little diversity!
There are too few female role models in top executive positions, both in numbers and diversity. Some diversity might be out there, but different female CXO role models are difficult to spot. At the same time, there are many male role models. At least in numbers, but maybe not in diversity.
Media loves to expose the extreme versions. In Norway, we call them Taarnfrids! A caricatured super business woman running in high heels. She is closing business deals on her cell phone, while leaving her sad looking son, dressed in a suit and bike helmet, in a locker at the central station. Or CXOs who did not take any maternity leave (blog post -> My battle).
I do not condemn their choices. There is no one size fits all. I want to see and learn to know a greater diversity in female role models, or more real models.
I also have to emphasize, it is not only about gender. I would really like to see a greater diversity in top executive role models, women, men, ethnicity and background!
Out of the comfort zone and into the Saloon!
This week I was asked to be the guest at NRK P2 Salongen (a radio talkshow, The Saloon). The topic was difference role models, my battle between motherhood and career, my childhood on the potato farm (blog post – Back to my roots) and the curiosity fact that I always have changed my dialect.
I must admit that I was pretty nervous. But I did my Sprezzatura routine (hehe..what is this? Check out my blog post about this magic word (Norwegian only)).
Why is diversity important?
Wherever we are in our careers, some of us continue to look ahead. We look up the career ladder or maybe sideways onto a new path. Which role models we see, is important for our own choices!
- Important to understand that it is possible.
- Important to see someone who looks like you.
- Important to have someone to ask difficult and sensitive questions.
- Important for your own self-esteem!
Female role models triggers me, both in my career but also in sports. During summer, I was going to windsurf alone at our local spot, Ørekroken. I find it difficult to choose the right sail size and rig my gear correct. As I drove down to the parking lot I saw three other female windsurfers. This really triggered me! I got out of the car, discussed sail size with the other women, rigged and got ut on the water!
My message! Women inspire women!
How can we get more real role models in the spot light?
This can be done on many levels! To start at the very top on the governmental level, the ministry of health has put it on his political agenda. The health minister Bent Hoeie has stated a clear political goal to increase the number of women in top executive positions.
Last week, at the Young executive award, I met a Swedish brain researcher. She told me about a Swedish female top executive community, called Poker face. A female network initiated by senior female CEOs.
On the company level, Deloitte carried out an internal project Women and career at Deloitte. The top management wanted it and followed up. Clear goals and a defined action plan. We are already seeing the results.
On the individual level, dare to get out there, a presentation, a blog or create your own network of power friends. Action on many levels is necessary to make a difference!
Am I really a role model?
This is a difficult subject. In many ways yes. I am a twin mother with small kids and business women. Still, I live in Norway, a country with a strong history of equality between genders and a strong welfare state. I also have a great man, who has a flexible job. We do household work and follow up the twins 50/50. Since we have twins, we get double governmental monthly support, making it possible to hire a private nanny. We have grand parents and other baby sitters. My situation and my safety net is an important part of the truth. Being a super woman does not work in the long run. You need help. You need to make priorities. You need to reduce your own expectations.
Critical voices will say No. My situation and safety net makes do not apply to everybody. Some will say that single parents, women with less resources or women in jobs that requires a lot of traveling are the real role models! Again, I say there is no one size fits all.
I admire all women, who take chances and stick their neck out! Please share your story! This is exactly what we need! A diversity in different REAL role models!
Stay tuned for the next blog post! Did I crash through the glass ceiling or am I dancing on the glass roof?
Have a great weekend! I am at a cabin up in the mountains, watching millions of falling snowflakes. Yes – ready a great day snowboarding!
Please, feel free to share my blog post in your social media! It would make me really happy!