Hi everyone. This month’s blog is focused on a topic which is close to my heart. I was asked about the challenges I have faced in being a relatively young woman in a position of authority and power. It made me stop and think about some of things that have happened to me over the years – so I thought I’d share them with you.   

Some of these relate to gender, some to age, and others to diversity. I’m not just a woman in a position of authority, but, like I say, relatively young in senior management terms. Additionally, having been raised and educated in Italy, I’m from a non-British background.   

Sadly, I’ve had a few comments over the years that I guess are based on ignorance and stereotype. These range from comments about my age, [‘are you really old enough dear?’], comments on my gender [what’s a woman doing running a complex business?] and comments on my ethnicity [you’re not totally English are you?].    

You have to deal with a wide range of different people in my position, and most of the time I get treated with respect, which is how I always try and treat people myself. Sometimes though, you get one or two who seem to ‘speak down’ to you, as if somehow they can’t quite understand how a relatively young woman can be in such a responsible managerial position! Although this can be a little annoying at times, I do realise that it’s probably how these people have been socialised themselves. Maybe they think I’m here to do the cleaning, the washing-up or make them a snack! That’s probably what women do in their caveman world – lol. 

Most people have come to terms with how female roles have changed over the years, but some still have this default position of using inappropriate terms when speaking to me. Others think that they have to speak to me in simple terms just because I’m female. Then you get one or two who go the other way, and try and use unnecessary jargon or complex language when talking to me. It’s as if they are somehow trying to intimidate me, or prove how clever they are… because surely I won’t be bright enough to understand?! 

I try not to get too affected by it, and sometimes it’s so daft that it’s funny! I mean really, I am not their ‘love’, or ‘dear’ and certainly not their ‘honey’, so quite how these men [and it always seems to be men] think I’m likely to respond to such terms amazes me.  Perhaps one day I should try a shock tactic in response. Maybe I should say ‘good morning dear little fat balding man, how are you today? I don’t think they’d call me ‘honey’ again, do you? 

So yes, I can have a laugh and joke about it, but you can imagine how it feels to be talked to like this when you’ve spent the last couple of years guiding a business through the most challenging times it’s ever faced – making tough, pressurised and crucial decisions which effect many people’s lives. I could say that to them I suppose, but I reckon addressing them with something like ‘good morning dear little fat balding man’ would probably have more effect!  

I have a healthy sense of humour, thank goodness, and it gets me through each day, but it is a subject I’m very passionate about. Maybe this is because as a child not only did I struggle with dyslexia, but had to adapt to the fact that English wasn’t my first language.  This background, added to the challenges of being a professional woman ‘in a man’s world’ have all made me more understanding of the plight of others. It’s made me humble I guess, and it’s all I really ask in return from others. Don’t immediately judge people, because all you’ll be doing is falling back on your own prejudices. Treat people equally, be tolerant, fair and understanding… and then respect becomes a two-way thing. Ultimately, it’s something which helps make the world a happier place!   

On more of a general note – we’ve getting on with caring for all our lovely residents at Three Corners and Hill House. Many enjoyed the Easter celebrations and some are already looking forward to the Queen’s platinum Jubilee. What an inspiration she has been to so many people, not just in the UK, but worldwide.  

Finally, I’m aware that last week there was a ruling in the High Court that the government’s policy of discharging people from hospitals to care homes at the start of the pandemic was unlawful. The court ruled that they failed to take account of the risk of asymptomatic transmission.  It doesn’t surprise me that the court have done this. It was an awful time, and chaotic for so many in the care sector. I don’t know what the implications of this ruling will be yet – but if it does affect anything, or anyone, connected with our homes I’ll let you know. 

So that’s all for this month – until the next time, fingers crossed that May brings us some late Spring sunshine, so we can all the enjoy the outdoors, especially after two years of on-off lockdowns… here’s hoping!  

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