I recently received a beautiful, hand-crafted, gift from a student of Tangent’s Postgrad cert in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship with the Michele Obama quote, “There’s no limit to what we as women can accomplish”
As women, we tend to be more prone to, what we call in coaching, self-limiting beliefs. Our male colleagues will often drive ahead with a piece of work without all the preparation or research done, while we lag behind ensuring everything is perfectly right before we hit send. Neither approach is wrong, there’s merit in both, but it’s important to recognise when our traits are holding us back.
It’s why visibility is vital. It’s held as a truism that if you can’t see it, you can’t be it – but that’s never resonated for me, if it were true, we’d never have any female ground breakers, and we have many. But it encourages, emboldens us even if we can see ourselves reflected in our day-to-day lives. It’s one of the reasons I was so glad to see Trinity flag the rainbow flag this Pride, and I continue to proudly wear my rainbow lanyard as I work here in the Tangent space, and go about the wider Trinity campus. It’s not simply for me, it’s for all those who haven’t yet arrived in a place where they are comfortable to be out at work or college, that they know they are represented here, that they are seen.
As women, or members of the LGBTQ+ community, we are still a long way from being celebrated because of the potential differences we bring to the table, the complementary traits, and values that enhance our working environment. In researching a paper for my IMI diploma in Executive Coaching, I learned that while female participation has grown by 15% in lower management levels, that growth is slower at both Director, and CEO levels. In order to succeed women need to be championed by senior colleagues, and they need career supports like executive coaching, and industry relevant CPD.
At Tangent I work as part of a predominantly female team, delivering courses that are accessed by over 60% female students, which is unsurprising, as our Post-graduate Programmes are structured to enable as much participation as possible while still juggling the other demands of life. While women aren’t the only ones with caring duties, they are often the ones who do more of the heavy lifting, whether in their family, community or profession. This creates greater challenges for them to re-enter education. I am truly proud to have helped a number of women re-enter education as part of my work with Tangent.