In November we ran an alumni event for previous attendees of our Game Changers programme. These are women, who happen to also be mothers, changing careers, switching things up, shaping their lives in a way that works for them. A few weeks prior I’d seen this video by Reese Weatherspoon (someone shared it on the Guilty Mothers Clubhouse). In it she talks about how women in films often turn around and ask others, “what do we do now?” which is totally crazy because as women we are absolutely who you want to be in charge in a crisis and certainly not bystanders in our own lives. I decided to show it at the beginning of the event because it really resonated.
This was a meet up I was really looking forward to. These women are ace, they are interesting, strong, supportive women who are also seriously inspiring. Unfortunately not everyone could attend (we’ve had 82 women go through the full Game Changers programme and they are from right across the country) but I hope those that made it would agree it was pretty special. We had a few members want to tell their stories which were so genuinely honest and passionate and brilliant. We did some planning for 2018 and we shared ideas and contact details and found some thinking space all in beautifully relaxed surroundings with coffee on tap.
These (alongside another 200 who have done the seven day mini version) are women who are asking themselves “what should I do now”. They are not waiting for someone else to tell them, not satisfied with, ‘nothing’ as an option, not happy with, “compromise” as a solution. Saying, “it’s not o.k to assume everyone wants to work 9-5 anymore, that needs to change” or “‘no, I won’t accept this patriarchal view of family you say is right” and “I won’t accept that I’m worth less now I’m a mum” (words from one of our Game Changers).
I really believe that we can and will change the narrative. The stats are depressing around maternity discrimination, there are a lack of flexible roles available, childcare challenges, financial pressures, employers that should be doing better and not enough fathers taking time off with children, and we need to talk about this. In fact we need to shout about this (see for example, March of the Mummies and ongoing campaigning by Pregnant then Screwed).
Seeing all these mums come together to find out for themselves what they really want to do next is proof that you can have a life that works for you and time to do the things you love. We need these examples, this inspiration, to keep shouting about those employers who are doing great, the organisations empowering women and those women themselves who are running their own show, whatever that might look like, and totally nailing it even if it is still bloody hard sometimes (quite a bit of the time).
Here are a handful of the mums who have completed Game Changers describing how the course has helped them (sorry my filming skills are seriously dodgy but the content is really good and I wanted to share it in the hope that it might inspire others to take the leap or start asking the questions).
Imagine if more mothers didn’t feel like they had to choose between having a career OR a family and were able to make the two work together more easily. Be that choosing to stay at home for a while and knowing you could go back without fear of discrimination or having to take a major step back. Choosing to work flexibly and not contending with a complete lack or available roles or an unreasonable pay drop. Choosing to set up your working family in a way that works for everyone.
Imagine if more women were doing work they love, work they are passionate about, fulfilling their ambitions and talents, leading others to do the same, in fact leading more businesses and organisations. I mean this would be pretty revolutionary right!?
So, thank you Game Changing women I came away completely invigorated by hearing that you are asking the question, “what do I do now?” and writing your own answers.
The current realities can be a bit deflating but maybe, just maybe, together we can start to change something??
If you’d like to be involved in Game Changers then there is a FREE completely accessible, mini version here. Or we start the full 12 week programme again on 7th January and you can click here to find out what’s involved.