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May 25, 2015

Why It Is Time To End Lip Service?

Do you have to drag yourself to work and once you’re there you lack the energy to do a good job? Do you feel irritable and dissatisfied, unsupported and overall disillusioned?

Well you’re not alone.


They say that modern women want to ‘have it all’, yet in reality this often translates into ‘having to do it all’. We are expected to perform inside rigid workplace practices, maintain our role within the family and household, be content with inflexible and expensive child care, and to top it off the general cost of living just keeps on rising, making our life choices that much harder.

Meanwhile, the media talks about workplace flexibility, diversity and inclusion. Organisations develop policies that pay ‘lip service’ to the cause, but it’s rare that such policies actually meet the needs of those they claim to support. Superficial changes are made merely to attract greater quality candidates, retain talent and for Organisations to be ‘seen’ as an employer of choice in the marketplace.

It’s for this reason that an increasing number of women are writing about the challenges they continue to experience in the modern day workplace, such as:

  • “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg,
  • “Thrive” by Ariana Huffington, and
  • “Why Women Need Wives” by Annabel Crabb

Even Patricia Arquette, when accepting her 2015 Oscar, took the chance to champion women’s plight for equal pay for equal work. Why do we still have to have this conversation?

For real and sustainable change to occur, there needs to be a change in rigid mindsets and outdated cultures that populate our working environments.

Unfortunately though, there still seems to be a widespread apathy for real change. At an office I visited recently, the disabled entry was a fire door. Have you ever tried to pull a fire door towards you from a wheelchair, when the handle itself is at standing height? It’s impossible! Yes it is true that the organisation was complying with policy and requirements, yet no disabled person could actually open that door!

Part-time work seems to be the new herald for the working mother. Yet in many cases ‘part-time’ work is full-time work in part-time hours. I remember once applying for a part-time role myself and being told that, although I had great experience and was a perfect cultural fit, I wasn’t ‘dedicated enough to the role’ because I ran my own business on the side. What they were actually saying was that the role wasn’t part time at all!

Real action needs to be taken to address the challenges and inequalities still facing women today. We deserve ‘a fair go’. But until we band together through honest exchanges about our experiences, we cannot be a force with any reckoning. Those of us in positions of power and influence need to speak up. Those of us struggling alone need to speak up. If perhaps we first can share our authentic stories, we can learn what is working and what is not. We can support each other and determine the next step towards honouring women, and honouring ourselves. Don’t be alone with your burnout. Start by speaking up.

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

Sonia Motum
Founder and Director, Energy Coaching
Energy Coaching supports women in fulfilling their greatest potential, discovering their true gifts and talents, living their authentic life purpose and being the best possible version of [...]