15 Jan Why Women Need To Earn Their Place In The Fitness Industry
Being in the senior team of a company is a pretty amazing feeling. Especially because the level I am right now was something I never thought I would be a few years ago. I was actually an assistant to the level I am at now, and that’s a cool thing.
The ability to be part of the decision making process in the future of a company comes with its excitement, but also with a huge responsibility to do a good job for the world.
I take this responsibility very seriously, not only because I take pride in my work, but I take pride in my purpose in life. At the very heart of my being is the want to achieve success as a team and a collective strive for the truth, in words, deeds and thought.
One thing to notice in the dynamic I am currently in is that I am the only woman in a group of four who are building the strategy of tomorrow. The wider team is more of a balance, and that is very much welcomed because it allows for a diversity of thought.
When it comes to the senior team, I am, in Maya Angelou’s words standing alone, ‘but standing up for all women when I do’. That’s okay, because I am in an environment that celebrates and welcomes my input always.
The fitness industry, as I have seen, still needs a lot of work to ensure women are given a platform to contribute to the future of it. And whilst there is a huge responsibility placed on men already in the arena to make the space, there is a huge responsibility on me to earn that place too.
I cannot expect myself to be ‘there’ just because I am a woman, or to fulfil a diversity quota and nor do I want to be. I have to be there because I’ve grafted hard in my career to earn that place but more importantly, that I don’t make the fatal mistake of pushing men away from the space they already inhabit.
I’m surrounded by respect given for striated glutes (which for someone like me who had no idea what this meant, is a ‘muscly’ bottom).
That in itself shows hard graft and dedication.
But whilst I won’t follow suit in the same way, in order to have my own posterior on a seat at the table, I must work hard to make sure my seat is reserved.
I cannot expect to silence a man I work with just so I can speak. I have to also listen. I have to respect them. I must graft and I must speak up too.
Being a damsel, a victim, or a weak woman won’t work. No one loves a sob story.
Crying and throwing a tantrum won’t work either.
In order for a seat at the table, the environment should be such that there are enough chairs for everyone. My place is not at the expense of anyone else. It just means those in charge need to buy more chairs and a bigger table.
Gravity doesn’t discriminate against any gender, so why should anyone else?
I’ve seen some of the feminist agenda isolate men, which is going against the very thing they claim to fight for.
But I’ve also seen brave and bold moves to include men in the narrative, which is the right way to go.
Just like the Founders of Allbright, a female members club that offers funding and training in a bid to make the UK a better place for working women, did by appointing a male chairman a few years ago.
In answering calls to explain why the move was made, Debbie Wosskow, co-founder of Allbright, stated the following:
‘AllBright is all about celebrating and championing women, but it’s also about bringing enlightened men, like Allan, on the journey with us. We recognise that having Allan on board demonstrates the need for men like him to be part of the solution in helping to change the economic landscape for women – this is the only way that real change is going to happen. Anyone who believes in equality is, in our view, a feminist and we plan to continue to pave the way for the UK to be a better place to be a woman at work.’
Allan Leighton, who is Chair of the Co-Operative Group and former CEO of Asda and Pandora became Allbright’s first Chairman back in 2018.
If we are to see a change in the fitness industry, it is not just the responsibility of the men who currently occupy the seats and the space. Whilst they need to work hard to give us a platform, we need to work our asses off too, on the striated glutes level, to ensure we fit the bill to take the weight of the demand of this industry as a whole.
We have lives to transform; an industry to turn on its head so it becomes purpose driven and we have to impact the world.
There’s no time to waste, nor victimhood to claim. We have to graft girls, and act like our male counterparts.
We need to earn our seats at that table.
And once we arrive, we should never leave.
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