Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Sandwich Woman

I am a Sandwich Mum.

No, no, not (just) the school lunches.

I am in a generation, who, having had their children much, much later than their own mums, are in the unenviable position of caring for young children even as their husbands' and their own parents grow older and less able.

Care for a new generation is segueing gently through into care for a previous one.

I had resigned myself to that....

What I hadn't reckoned on was being in a career sandwich too.

As a feisty young neo-feminist, I believed that I was equal, I believed that through intellect, hard work, and ambition, I would 'make it' - become a leader in my chosen field, be a role model, and attain the financial rewards for the role I held.

Yep, I thought I could make it, and I have done well FOR A WOMAN but the truth is, and I know it, I have never reached my full potential.

What I hadn't reckoned on was that gender issues would still be ongoing even as I reach middle age. Paid less even than my direct reports, I had been fobbed off as not being experienced enough for new opportunities, only to see the best roles go to the less able.

Yes, male, in every single case....

I know you'll tell me I have contributed to this situation, by staying at the same conservative employer for 20 years, and by being probably a little too feisty for their taste - I have not exactly helped myself.

Ultimately that is why I have taken the step I have, to move away from my career ladder, to do something enjoyable, worthwhile, to be a better person, to be a little less Demented.

So why am I up in arms, again?

One word - Diversity!

Has there ever been a word more divisive?

Yesterday I sat through global presentation on Diversity, and you know what? it sucked. The penny suddenly dropped that now I am again in the 'wrong' generation, neither old enough to be a 'valued Senior' (yeah, right) nor young enough to be considered 'Talent'.

Fuming, even as the presentation unfolded, another statement caught me by surprise. What? Wait? What are they saying? Oh, apparently our Diversity action plan is North America only...

Ah, that's all right then - White Middle-aged Men everywhere else, you can relax...

So, what do you think? Are you in the sandwich generation? Are you in a career sandwich too? Do you find that Diversity Policy is really only lip-service? Do you think I am just being Demented, again?

Comment away...

Image 1

Image: m_bartosch /

Image 2

Image: Ambro /

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad