When I was just a little person, my mum was the typical stay at home mom.

That all changed, for a lot of reasons and - at one point - she worked two jobs to keep the home fires burning (more on that another day).

I remember missing her, and even once throwing a typical six-year-old tantrum because she wasn’t “like other moms anymore” and seemed to never be home for us.

In retrospect though, I’m grateful that change. I learnt, through that experience, that women can be breadwinners, can do almost anything and, yes, they can hold two jobs and love their family all at the same time.

Whilst I may have, as a child, felt out of sorts because my mom “wasn’t like other moms”, as an adult, I am so grateful she wasn’t, because I now know that I am capable of so much more. She taught me that.

So it was quite a shock to me when, entering the working world, I became suddenly aware that women are, quite often, treated differently in the office.

In a series of first, false start jobs that I was employed in after graduating, I felt quite unsettled by the comments passed on my legs, by male colleagues. I had to learn to laugh it off, or else I’d end up in the bathroom each day, hiding from the world.

Later on, in a different job, I was made to feel very small, because I was referred to as “just a woman” in a meeting one day. Then came the day, a (male) attendee in a meeting I chaired commented: “But what do you know about this? You’re just a chick”.

In the moments thereafter, I distinctly remember purple smoke emerging from my ears, and that the language erupting from my mouth was an astonishing shade of blue.

Feeling insulted, I’d lashed out, because that comment burnt me like chilli on the tongue.

What gave that person the right to tell me that? What could have made them assume that, because of my gender, I had no idea what I was talking about?

Looking back, I realise I can’t hate the guy. In all likelihood, his attitude was learned behaviour. I can’t forgive him, either, because to do so would be to excuse his behaviour.

But, what I can do…is live my life to rile against that level of ingrained sexism.

So, when my kid comes home from school, and tells me that certain things are “for girls” and others “for boys”, I remind her that the great big world of online gaming that she loves so much used to be seen as a “boy’s world”.

Yet, there she is, along with many other girls, leveling up and staking her claim in a fantasy world inside the screen. I remind her that I was on the first girls tug-of-war team in primary school, and that, whilst the fairy tales she sometimes reads deify the image of princesses seeking castles, the reality of the world we live in, has very little to do with men prancing about whilst wearing ridiculous tights.

The reality of our world is that women and men are still not treated equally in the workplace, or anywhere else, for that matter.

We are not at the point in our human evolution where people are not judged by their gender , but I like to think we’re making some progress. Maybe that will be enough by the time my kid enters the world of work.

Perhaps she’ll even crack the nod and be our first female president – who knows?

For now, all I can do…is be a damn good example to her, just like my mom was for me.

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