Women in the professions are under-represented at the top levels

I listened with interest to this BBC broadcast, (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01ppq3k  )  in which the current president of the Law Society, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, is quoted discussing the loss of women from high levels in Law and in the boardroom, and praises those companies who take trouble to create flexible working. The inequalities are by no means resolved , but the inequalities in the professions are improved compared with my time as a student in the 1980s – we have now had several women at the top of the Royal College of General Practitioners, such as Claire Gerada, current Chair.  However, listening in to a designer who had her progress completely blocked in the 1960s shows us the true level of institutional sexism that occurred at that time. How shocking that working was completely out of the question once a woman had had a child! And what a drain of talent and creativity!

So how can we address the issues facing women in the professions going forward? One of the problems I see is the fear that people have of admitting that they are stressed. Within my own profession I have seen and felt the effects of stress and burnout, yet when faced with the obvious (if you are crying between clients, or shouting at them, you have evidently reached an extreme level of stress) professionals feel that they cannot, should not admit to stress, much less burnout.

Yet admitting it is the first step to recovery – with workaholicism as with any other ism – and has to be reached before we will seek help. I was lucky to have support , but it took some work to piece together my recovery plan back in 2004.

That is why I have put together the Vitality System for women – empowering stressed business and professional women to get their health and energy back on track so they can live life on their terms.

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