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The Last Ten Miles

By July 29, 2013December 19th, 2016No Comments

last ten milesThere is a very old Chinese proverb which in essence states this: if you stop a journey of a hundred miles at the ninety mile mark, you may as well have stopped it halfway.

In other words, near enough isn’t good enough. All that preparation, all the slog, all the effort to get that far along the path – and then to say ‘well, I almost made it’?

In any situation, this is, to put it bluntly, a cop-out. And unfortunately, it’s what we are seeing currently in terms of the journey which is supposedly being taken in terms of creating equality in the workplace.

Those last ten miles are simply not being walked. They are being talked about incessantly – but the steps themselves? They are getting slower and slower until very shortly, it will all get too hard and even the most enthusiastic hikers are going to limp off, footsore and weary, to the nearest rest station.

Yes, extended metaphor, but as men and women of worth, we have one chance – one –to get this right. The conversation about workplace change has been going on for decades, yet realistically, what has actually happened? Have we achieved parity in terms of pay? Are there equal numbers of women in senior positions in corporate? Are there merit-driven board member ratios across all industries and sectors? Are women remaining in corporate rather than stepping out and heading towards entrepreneurial ventures?

The answer to all of these questions is no. There is still a disconnect. And it is our responsibility – women and men working together – to create a community and not only have a conversation but challenge to the point of action. And it does need to be men and women, because men to a great extent aren’t given some of the choices women are. They aren’t asked whether they want to work or stay at home with the kids very often – it’s assumed they will climb the corporate ladder. And that needs to be a part of the action too.

This journey needs to be about families. About business. About men, and women, and making it happen together. It needs to involve government and corporate and start-ups. It needs to involve the ‘old guard’, and Gen Y, and most of all it needs to involve those of us who are in a position to influence those who say ‘I don’t understand’ and those who say ‘I don’t care’.

We are potentially the disruptors.

So let’s disrupt.

And not just walk the last ten miles of that hundred mile journey – but run it like we are heading for the finish line at the Olympics. Because this is gold medal territory.

Winning equity instead of a brick wall.

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