The panel discuss what women have to think about vs men; societal expectations; the impact of bias and stereotypes; and how we can create safe spaces for all.

366: Blended – Leveling The Playing Field: What Women Have To Think About Vs Men

Welcome back to Blended! It’s episode 37, I’m joined by another new group of professionals, who are bringing their authentic selves to conversations that matter and, today, we’re talking about the differences between what men and women have to think about when they’re out living their lives.

Many of you will have seen memes or articles shared on social media with some of these differences. For example, on a night out. A woman might consider what she wears, only go out in groups, meet people in a public place, be careful not to drink too much, cover her drink to make sure no-one puts anything in it, message her friends to let them know she got home safe… Meanwhile, a guy just goes out.

And that is the same for everything, from going for a jog to finding a parking space – even choosing a place to live. But it’s not something that’s talked about a lot because, for many women, it’s a fact of life. They just get on with it, and many men might not even realise the things they have to think about on a daily basis.

And how does that translate to the workplace? What are women having to do or think about versus men, and how is that impacting the organizations we work for, our industry and, ultimately, the progress of diversity equity and inclusion.

Today, our guests will be sharing their personal experiences; reflecting on the societal expectations for men and women and their impacts; discussing the impact of bias and stereotypes on the workplace; and sharing ideas for how we can create safe spaces for all genders to thrive.




[01.30] Introductions to our Blended panellists.

  • Lisa – CEO at EyeMail Inc
  • Akshay – Co-Founder and CEO at Terminal49
  • Graham – Executive Chairman at A & A Customs Brokers and BorderBuddy
  • McKenny – Race car driver
  • David – Founder of Whirlwind

“We need to decouple s*x and appearance and gender, and break those walls down.” Akshay

[05.44] The group share their personal experiences in a range of settings; and the issue of gender norms, societal expectations and stereotypes, and their impacts.

  • What women wear/how they act
  • Judgement
  • Gender norms and stereotypes
  • Societal expectations for men and women
  • Changing attitudes at a younger age
  • McKenna’s experience in a male-dominated industry
  • Sarah’s experiences at trade shows and in sales meetings
  • Male defensiveness
  • Impact of social media
  • Discrimination and historical power structures
  • Control
  • Diverse representation
  • Achieving balance
  • Personal choice
  • Definitions of professionalism
  • Pressures on women, eg make up, products, jewelry, weight loss, looking young
  • Dressing for yourself versus your partner versus competing friendship group

“I’m a lot more mature now when it comes to shutting people down and setting my own boundaries, but when you’re younger it’s more challenging – it’s nerve-wracking to say no.” McKenna

[40.05] The panel reflect on what men and women have to think about in the workplace, from applying for jobs to supporting emotional needs.

“Even the word ‘professional’ is rooted in centuries of one type of person being in charge… We need to be conscious of how we got to where we are, and examine the things that underpin that.” David

  • Men will apply for a job if they are 70% qualified whereas a woman won’t unless she hits 95% of the requirements
  • Bias within hiring practices
  • Vulnerability
  • Negative connotations of emotion in the workplace, emotion = weakness
  • Honesty
  • Making mistakes
  • Role of leadership
  • Boundaries
  • Asking people what they need from us

“For me, it was always about trying to figure out a way to have a voice, to have a seat at the table.” Lisa

[56.35] The group discuss safety for women and creating spaces for all genders to co-exist harmoniously.

  • Code of conduct
  • Saying no
  • Support of HR/leadership
  • How we greet others eg. handshakes, hugs
  • Typical gender roles in professional settings, like getting the coffee
  • Importance of fluidity/choice
  • Authenticity
  • Safe spaces

[1.16.12] The group sum-up their thoughts from today’s discussion.




You can connect with David, Graham, Lisa and Akshay over on LinkedIn, and find out more about McKenna on her website.

If you enjoyed this episode and want to hear more about levelling the playing field for women, check out 258: Blended – I Said No: Managing Sexual Harassment In The Workplace or 318: Blended – Parenthood vs a Career: The Ultimate Catch 22.

Check out our other podcasts HERE.

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