Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time and meet your 20-year old self? Would you recognise each other, and the priorities around which you’d built your life? Have your 20-something goals changed massively, and if so, why?
It was these kind of questions that led to the creation of a new website and survey, http://wherethebrightwomenare.com/ Set up by two working mums in the media, the website launched earlier this year and has quickly gained momentum, leading to hundreds of women taking part in the survey and joining the group online (they tweet as brightwomenare and also have a facebook group).
The aim of the site was “to bring together all of those bright, cool women that surrounded us at uni and in our 20s, but whose lives have taken such different paths now” says Fiona, one of the founders.
Where have all of the women gone?
“Having worked in the communications industry for years, it constantly baffles us that so many women have ‘gone missing’ by the time they hit their early 40s. We know they’re somewhere – we just don’t know where, because they aren’t, generally, sitting on the boards of FTSE100 companies, but nor are they all sitting in coffee shops living off their husbands.” Fiona continues.
When they delved further into this, the figures were staggering. In the UK, only 3% of CEOs are women. And although many think that legislation has made it easier for bright women to have great corporate careers, it’s just not happening. In advertising, the number of women at board level has dropped from 16% 30 years ago to 13% now.
With so many conversations abounding about women in the boardroom, stay-at-home mums and how maternity rights are affecting women’s careers, they felt that often, it seems as if the only people who don’t share their opinions are the women themselves. Which is why they set up the site.
The continuing rise of the female entrepreneur
Their emerging hypothesis is that many, many bright women want to work. It’s just that the conventions around traditional corporate environments no longer work for them – whether or not they have children. They strongly believe that the future for many women will be in an environment they create for themselves – a business, a partnership, or volunteering – which is why they are particularly interested in understanding more about women who are taking the plunge, and doing things for themselves.
How to get involved:
If you’d like to share your thoughts on what it means to be a bright, achieving women today, join in by taking the survey – found on the site or via this link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TQR22QM – and tell them you are making your lives work. The aim is to build a community so that we can share and learn from each other.