I recently discovered the Womens Recognition Awards (run by the publisher of Financial Reporter).
My immediate reaction was that I would rather be up against everybody for an award.
This does not belittle my ‘sisters’ but rather compliments them because we already know how good we are, it’s actually the men that need educating.
My frustration was the wider issue of award ceremonies.
We help improve lives, not save them, and my fear is too many awards can dilute the power that they often achieve.
Now, the industry seems to have one every week and it’s like the modern school sports day where kids get a medal if they can put their bib on at the first time of asking.
Do we even need awards? I help my clients secure their little corner of the world or give them the tools for a better financial future.
This is my celebration and their recognition for the work I have done for them is enough for me.
I came late to the industry but less than two years in I have increased my income by over 300%.
But it is never about the money. I am learning that financial returns and material success are just markers along the path of personal development. Some would argue an award does that, and it may for some but not always everyone.
What’s the meaning of an award that only celebrates women? Is this a step backward? How would women react to a male-only awards ceremony?
There would be uproar amid shouts of inequality. Yes, women should be celebrated and awarded for their hard work and achievements but why segregate ourselves in this way?
There is an article on Google that states there are 63 different genders so where will this end? Maybe at the Feminine Female-Attracted Hermaphrofemale Recognition Awards if we are not careful.
This is a predominantly male environment. I have to shout a little louder to be heard, work that little bit harder to be noticed and continually prove myself in order to be counted as an equal.
But I enjoy being a woman amongst the herd of men. I am the only woman at London Money and I enjoy matching them in business, the tea making league table and with politically incorrect jokes.
I embrace being a female in financial services and at times it can take balls (pun intended ) to be one. The general view from the men I work alongside and the wider industry is that they are huge advocates of women and perhaps even prefer us in the workplace.
But there are times as a female that you are aware that things do need to change. We should be in a place where it’s not even up for debate or be part of our decision making process . It should just be the norm. If it takes women-only lunches, women-only networking groups or women-only awards for this to happen then so be it.
But the risk is that becomes more about the agenda and much less about the gender.
All I ask is to please respect my opinion when I suggest that this isn’t for me or indeed for others . I stand on my own two feet and wish to be judged on results not biology.
Let’s all make a difference together as men and women and embrace our Venus and Mars, because we are very different and that is something I WILL get behind.
Catherine wrote this in response to Lea Karasavvas’ opinion piece last week advocating women-only awards.