March 8th is International Women’s Day
“Imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias.International Women’s Day Website
Celebrate women’s achievement. Raise awareness against bias. Take action for equality”
I was blessed with an amazing Executive career in a man’s world. I always felt supported, encouraged and mentored.
I certainly came across some less than desirable situations, as a young woman in my early 20’s in the late 80s, early 90s, where some men felt it was ok to sit a little too close or say things to me which were not appropriate on so many levels.
As I was promoted over the years, I also experienced salary discrepancy. In the last few years of my career, before my disease caused me to medically retire, my company were trying to rectify the situation and I did receive significant pay rises. However because the gender discrepancies had created such a divide in the past, there was no way true equality was going to be achieved quickly.
Why Sam, not Samantha?
I’m often asked why I give my name as Sam instead of Samantha.
While many Samantha’s do shorten their name to Sam in general, my reason is very related to the theme of this years International Women’s Day, #break the bias.
I was promoted to the position of Bank Manager as a 24 year old. I looked young, despite being very capable of leading a large team and managing one of the largest flagship branches in my Region.
My branch was situated in Western Australia, in a Perth suburb predominantly with a European migrant population. The male customers had a firm expectation their Bank Manager would be a male.
When my staff booked appointments for a male to see me and were told my name was Samantha, the walls of discrimination came up immediately. They made it quite clear they would only see a male manager.
I had to find a way to get around this if I had any hope of breaking barriers and changing mindsets. Remember this was 1989 so very early days for women to have an easy career path, however I had naivety on my side and blissfully believed women could do anything men could do.
I decided to have all my business cards reprinted with my name as Sam instead of Samantha and excluded Miss, Mr or Mrs.
I asked my staff to always tell customers making appointments with me to be given my card and to just not mention my gender.
It worked as I got them into my office. They were so shocked to find a young woman before them, who firmly shook their hand with confidence and asked them to take a seat, it gave me the opportunity to take charge before they could run.
It was quite amusing these patriarchal males, who I must add were generally lovely husbands and fathers, ended up more surprised at my young age and how could I possibly be a Bank Manager so soon!
Suddenly being a female wasn’t the biggest issue, however I did need to quickly impress them with my product and business knowledge and succinctly address their banking needs.
It worked and over the years I managed this particular branch, I built strong relationships in the business community and my team and I achieved our targets to grow our customer base and account portfolio.
Medical Bias Stories
Aside from the bias situations I experienced through wage discrimination, gender discrimination and even sexual abuse situations in the workplace, I also think woman experience medical discrimination.
So many of you have shared stories with me over the years of not being believed, not being heard or feeling abused.
If you would like to share your experiences of gender discrimination, whether medical or otherwise, or good stories of gender equality, we’d love to hear them and together we can do our part on My Medical Musings to raise awareness and #breakthebias2022.
(no reason to stick to Sam anymore…unless I want to of course)
Coming Soon….My book “My Medical Musings”, is being published by Imaginewe Publishers. Pre-release sale will be available in March 2022
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding and friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
If you would like an audible version of my blog, please check out my Podcast, Medical Musings With Sam