Fact: Men still earn more

When James Brown sang This Is a Man’s World in 1966, he was right. He did go on to sing: It would be nothing without a woman” but this does little topersuadeus.In equality is still a daily reality.Although sisters are doing it for themselves in the workplace, research conducted by the World Economic Forum reveals that in South Africa, women still earn up to 33% less than men. women rights at work (4)And women are still grossly under-represented in top leadership roles. Khanyi, 35, will never forget the day she was made a partner at a law firm.“I was shocked when I discovered that although I’d made it I wasn’t considered to be on the same level as my male colleagues,”she says. “I was one of only two women who were partners in the firm but I felt undermined.”

Importance of gender transformation in the workplace

After two years, Khanyi eventually quit to start her own practice. “Many might think I gave up, or wasn’t strong enough,but I’m proud of my decision. I didn’t feel valued and respected,”she says. Janine Hicks from the Commission for Gender Equality says the responsibility of achieving gender equality starts at the top. “We need leadership within companies to understand the importance of gender transformation in the workplace, the value of managing diversity, the legal requirements in terms of international conventions and employment equity legislation – and then put measures in place to drive this process,”says Hicks. women rights at work (3)

She adds that this would entail making transformation a leadership responsibility, not just the responsibility of a human resources manager to report employment equity. “It requires setting targets, developing appropriate strategies and policies, and assigning accountability for implementation at a senior level. It should also be built into performance management, monitoring and reporting mechanisms, and assigned necessary budgets,” explains Hicks. Forbes Magazine’s recent richest people in the world list features only two women in the top 10.One is in the number eight position and the other in number 10 – and neither of them are black.

Awareness and activism around this issue

Bringing it closer to home, the richest man in South Africa, Ivan Glasenberg of Glencore International, secured a net worth of R61, 5 billion in 2014,while the richest woman, Wendy Appelbaum of Liberty Investors, is worth a total of only R2, 6 billion. On a much smaller scale, most women in leadership positions aren’t getting the same income as their male counterparts. Hicks says: “The issue of equal pay for work of equal value has been an issue in international policy advocacy and the subject of feminist and women’s rights campaigns for decades. “This has enabled the issue to acquire greater traction and response. In South Africa, there’s a gender wage gap that is not adequately addressed. We need more awareness and activism around this issue from women’s organisations, trade unions and Parliament. women rights at work (1)

We have to force companies to enact measures to eradicate this gap.” To try to rectify the imbalance, the Employment Equity Commission has proposed amending the Employment Equity Act of 1998 to promote gender equality in the workplace. “The workplace is deeply patriarchal, with entrenched institutional cultures and behaviours that have become normalised based on our perceptions and prejudices in relation to the roles and competencies of men and women, and the fundamental discrimination that exists in all social spheres. women right at work

There’s insufficient understanding of the set of issues and responsibilities, and we are not seeing CEOs of companies, boards of directors and director generals of government departments who are putting such measures in place.” But there’s hope — the commission is determined to rectify this imbalance. “We walk the path with those entities who haven’t achieved equality. We call them to appear before us to account for their poor performance and ensure they commit to work on this issue.

Representation of women in positions of leadership

We develop recommendations for them on appropriate interventions and have shared best practice in terms of strategies and policies that would be required to address their short comings,” says Hicks. It’s important to know you have rights when it comes to gender inequality in the workplace. And it’s also worth knowing that if you are in a position of leadership or influence, it’s not too late to turn your company around. “Where necessary, we’ve provided training and awareness for the seen tities. We’ve also reported to Parliament and named all the entities that have appeared before us. We’ve given our findings on where they are failing to comply with employment equity measures and constitutional and other labour legislative requirements, such as failure to put in place policy and systems to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace, which is a common area of concern. Should we encounter instances of outright discrimination on the basis of gender, we could take the entity involved to the equality court, being empowered to do so by the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act of 2000,” elaborates Hicks. women rights at work (2)

The South African Development Community’s gender protocol indicated in 2008 that there should be a 50% representation of women in positions of leadership by 2015, but this is not yet the case. However, the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (Bwasa) is working to improve those numbers. “Bwasa’s 2015 Women in Leadership census study is likely to continue to reflect lower percentages of women than men at boardroom level,” says Kareema Mitha, the association’s executive director. “It’s vital to note that although many organisations have assisted us with the gathering of information, many have not. With such attitudes and a lack of commitment from organisations to participate in this important study, it is no wonder women are struggling to make it out there and succeed in their careers at higher organisational levels,” she adds. We need to keep fighting for equality.

Even though we may not see the fruits of our labour immediately, future generations will benefit. American feminist Susan Anthony once said: “The day will come when man will recognise woman as his peer, not only at the fireside, but in councils of the nation. Then, and not until then, will there be the perfect comradeship, the ideal union between the sexes that shall result in the highest development oftherace.”■

If I let go I may never get a better opportunity

Myth: If I let go of this relationship, job, or situation, I may never get a better opportunity.

Magic: When I say goodbye to a situation that isn’t right for me, I create the space for a new gift to enter my life.

Have you ever been afraid to make a change in your life, even when you are unhappy or frustrated, thinking, “If I give up what little I have, I may never find anything better” ? Have you ignored what your feelings are trying to tell you, turning to logic instead to find the direction you’re looking for? While our feelings can certainly carry us of course at times, they are also a pathway to the truth—your inner truth—if you listen to them.

Logic alone won’t get you there

It’s essential to evaluate your feelings as you would any other piece of information you gather so that you can make an emotionally intelligent choice in every situation. Logic alone won’t get you there. In the words of the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, “A mind all logic is like a knife all blade; it makes the hand bleed that uses it.” Lani discovered how life-changing it could be to follow through on what her feelings were telling her when she was unexpectedly faced with an issue that challenged both her career and her character.If I let go I may never get a better opportunity (4)

She thought she had finally found the perfect job. It was in the right location and on the right career track, and she was working directly with the owner of the company as his assistant. Then one day she discovered that her boss was dealing unethically with his clients. She knew this was wrong and hoped that something or someone would come along to correct the situation so she wouldn’t have to rock the boat. But nothing changed, and Lani knew that she could not let the situation go unchallenged.

An opening for life to work its magic

When she finally mustered the courage to speak to her boss, he brushed aside her concerns. So she told him that if he didn’t stop his behaviour, she would quit in one week. Seven days later, Lani found herself walking out the door with nothing but a small box of her belongings in her arms. As she paused in the downstairs lobby of the office building to catch her breath, wondering what she would do now with no job, no severance package, and no leads, an older, well-dressed gentleman stopped next to her.

If I let go I may never get a better opportunity (2)

He was having some trouble opening his new briefcase. Lani instinctively offered to help and figured out the problem right away. “You’re clever,” the man said, thanking her. “If I’m so clever,” she shot back without thinking, “then maybe you should hire me!” As it turned out, the man was looking for a good office manager.

Lani was a great fit for the job. “He was so respectful, and that new job paid much more than the old one,” she later told me. “I really didn’t have to be worried at all about taking a stand for what I believed in or about leaving that job.” In fact, the universe was just waiting for her to make room in her life to receive the gift of this new job. Sometimes walking away is the right way to be walking. It creates an opening for life to work its magic.

Ways to find your purpose in life

HAVING A PURPOSE in life may be protective against stroke. At Chicago’s Rush University Medical Center, brain autopsies showed that older people were much less likely to have evidence of strokes in their brains if they’d felt a strong purpose in life. Other studies show that a life purpose is linked with living longer, slowing Alzheimer’s disease, lower risks of depression and heart attack – and even a better sex life! But what defines a life purpose? Researchers say that’s up to you. It might mean constantly learning and bettering yourself or contributing to your community. Inspired to find yours? Here are 45 ways to get you started.

  • PUT PEN TO PAPER
    The process of writing down what you find meaningful will set you on the right track. Try making these lists.
  1. List your core values. What do you believe in? What is most important to you?
  2. List things that fascinate you. What captures your interest? What would you like to know more about?
  3. List your skills. What are your special talents? What do you enjoy doing?
  4. List all the reasons why you got up this morning!
  • SEEK THERAPYlife purpose (3)
    Feeling daunted by the task of finding your life’s meaning on your own? Trained therapists can actually guide you through the process. Yes, life-purpose counselling is a thing!
  • SET GOALSlife purpose (1)
    Purpose can be defined as having specific goals to work toward. Do you want to learn a language, master the violin, build a school-house, write that epic screenplay? “Purpose is about having a vision in life,” writes Duke University professor Harold Koenig in his book Purpose and Power In Retirement: New Opportunities for Meaning and Significance. “This vision is a picture of something important and significant that we see in our mind’s eye, a picture of something we have not yet achieved but have decided is worth the effort to obtain.”
  • GET OFF YOUR DUFF AND …
  1. Invent something Older inventors are often successful because they have more life experience,
    which can enhance their insight and problem-solving skills.
  2. Teach something Share your expertise! Teaching degrees aren’t necessarily required for instructors of continuing education courses.
  3. Write something Your memoirs might inspire the next generation.
  • LOSE YOURSELF
    Have you ever been so thoroughly absorbed in what you were doing that you completely lost track of time? That’s a clue to what your life’s purpose might be.
  • JUST IMAGINE…
    Think on this: if you had a million dollars to give away to others, what would you do with it? Another clue!
  • SAVE A LIFE
    It gives meaning to your own, and it might not be as out of reach as you think.
  1. Join a stem cell registry.
  2. Sign your organ donor card.
  3. Donate your blood.
  4. Take a CPR course.
  5. Donate time or money to a humanitarian agency.
  • MEDITATE ON ITlife purpose (2)
    At the University of California San Francisco, people who participated in a three-month meditation retreat felt a greater sense of their purpose in life compared to those on the retreat’s waiting list.
  • FIND MORE PURPOSE IN YOUR CAREER
    A Gallup poll found that only one in six Canadians feels engaged in their jobs. We don’t always have control over what we do, but here’s how you can find more meaning in your work.
  1. Concentrate on how what you do makes a difference to others.
  2. Embrace opportunities to develop new skills as they come up.
  3. Tap into the workplace community, whether it’s by joining the company bowling team or attending a co-worker’s baby shower.
  • FIND MORE PURPOSE IN YOUR CAREER
    A Gallup poll found that only one in six Canadians feels engaged in their jobs. We don’t always have control over what we do, but here’s how you can find more meaning in your work.
  1. Concentrate on how what you do makes a difference to others.
  2. Embrace opportunities to develop new skills as they come up.
  3. Tap into the workplace community, whether it’s by joining the company bowling team or attending a co-worker’s baby shower.
  • UH, I PICK LOVE
    Vienna psychiatrist Viktor Frankl, concentration camp survivor and author of the 1946 book Man’s Search for Meaning, believed there were three pathways to finding your life’s meaning: love, work and suffering.
  • WE CHECKED WITH THE EXPERTS
  1. Ask your younger self “Sometimes it’s best to return to basics when you’re looking for your life’s purpose, and that would be back in your past. What did you want to be when you were 10 years old? How about when you were 16? What were your interests and passions? You might be surprised to learn that you still love the same things!”
    — Vikki Stark, psychotherapist, Montreal.
  2. Get mad about you “Examine your anger. When people in mid-life are looking for purpose, I encourage them to look at what they’ve been pushing away. Often it’s anger, and I suggest looking into what we are angry about. Are there chances missed, societal injustices, thwarted hopes? If we’re angry, there’s usually a passion underneath that wants our attention, badly.”
    — Pamela Rubin, certified counsellor, Halifax.
  3. Make it yourself “Instead of considering your purpose as something to be found, try thinking of it as something to be created. You are, in the grand scheme of things, already talented in your life’s purpose. This shift in perspective will empower you to take action and follow your unique way to infuse your life with your purpose.”
    — Ryan Cuillerier, certified professional coach, Vancouver.
  • THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT!life purpose (1)
  1. Life Purpose Get more insights into your own identity and values. www.lifepurposeapp.com
  2. On Purpose Create a “purpose statement,” then track which daily activities are in line with your purpose.www.dungbeetle.org/about-the-app
  3. Motto Dots Inspire yourself with your own life-changing catch-phrases. www.mottodots.com
  • DON’T CONFUSE A HAPPY LIFE WITH A MEANINGFUL ONE
    It’s possible to have both happiness and purpose in your life. But you can have one without the other. A survey by a Florida State University psychologist uncovered five key differences. Getting what you want may makeyou happy but won’t provide meaning. Happiness is connected to the present. A meaningful life is linked to the past, present and future. Happiness is lower in people who have more stress and anxiety, but meaning is higher in these same people. Self-expression and exploring personal identity don’t make people happier, but they do provide meaning. Takers have happiness. Givers have meaning.

How to learn a language amazingly quick

Learning a language can help unlock new adventures. “When you learn other languages, you open up an entirely new culture and every single person from that culture,” says Benny Lewis, author of Fluent in 3 Months. But so few of us take the trouble to try. Think it’s too hard? Convinced you don’t have the time? Read on…

How hard is it ?

While it’s not the easiest thing in the world for everyone, learning a language doesn’t have to be that difficult–the key thing is that you want to do it. “I think the biggest problem is finding the time and keeping motivated,” says Sarah Cole from online resource Teach Yourself  languages. “You don’t always see results fast, so people often just give up.”

How to learn a language quickly
Lingo lessons Finding a native speaker to practise with will speed up your learning

Preparation is key. Lay out a plan before you start learning, setting both short-term and long-term goals. However, make sure your plan isn’t too daunting so you’re not put off, advises Lisa Frumkes, from language learning software publisher Rosetta Stone. Once you’ve decided what your aims are, it’s all about finding the right language-learning method for you.

Ways to learn a language

There are many ways to study a new language. You can self-teach yourself – perhaps investing in interactive online learning courses or via audio CDs that you can listen to wherever you like. You can hire a teacher for one-to-one tuition or join a class to benefit from common learning. Or you could try a combination.

It’s useful to discover what type of learner you are. Are you a visual learner, someone who might improve by watching films? Are you more of an audio learner? Or do you benefit from reading a good old-fashioned textbook?

Top tip Talk to yourself. You might feel a little mad, but saying words out loud will help you get used to making the right sounds, and will help keep the vocab you’ve learned fresh in your mind.
Top tip
Talk to yourself. You might feel a little mad, but saying words out loud will help you get used to making the right sounds, and will help keep the vocab you’ve learned fresh in your mind.

Benny reckons that one of the most effective ways is to befriend someone whose mother tongue is the language you’re aiming to learn. “Set yourself up with a language exchange person or teacher online and talk to a native. Your skills will improve through genuine use of the language.” Benny and Sarah both recommend iTalki (italki.com), a Skype-style online service via which you can have video calls with both locals and teachers for immediate feedback.

Utilise ‘wasted time’

Many of us think we don’t have time to learn a language, but there are always hidden pockets you can utilise. “Keep your learning materials handy,” says Lisa. “Then, when you have odd bits of time available – waiting in a queue, for the bus, for a meeting to start – you can steal a few minutes to study. Even five minutes could be beneficial.”
Lisa adds that regular chunks of learning are ideal: “Consistent, preferably daily, effort is key.” Little and often every day is much more effective than large blocks of learning once or twice a week.

Make it fun

The important thing to remember is to have fun. “Learning a language is hard work, but it needn’t be drudgery,” says Lisa. Include light-hearted ways of learning. If you enjoy watching films, choose the odd movie in your target language and turn off the subtitles. Or tune in to a foreign radio station. Even if you don’t understand much of what is being said, you’ll be getting used to the sounds and flow of the language.

Language teacher Kerstin Hammes (fluentlanguage.co.uk) agrees: “It’s important to remember that learning a language is suppose to be fun and not a critical survival skill.”

Don’t heap too much pressure on yourself – set realistic targets, says Benny. For example, try to learn the words for objects in your kitchen one day, before choosing a different room or theme the next. If you’re feeling confident, try to form your own basic sentences by the end of the first week, even if they’re grammatically incorrect.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes

There is no shame in mispronouncing a word or not quite understanding a response. It’s all part of the learning process. “The more mistakes you make, the more practice you get, and the faster you will improve,” says Benny. “Don’t wait until you’re ‘ready’, because that feeling will never come. We always have more to learn.” One way to overcome this fear is to start speaking the language from day one. Don’t be afraid to try it out on a short trip or on any visiting tourists.
“I think people worry too much about their accent or wait to speak until they think they’ll be perfect,” adds Sarah. We’re not even perfect at our own language. How often do we say the wrong word or use
incorrect English?

Practice makes perfect

To really improve and learn a language quickly, it comes down to practice. Be disciplined. When you feel at the end of your tether or a bit fed up, remember why you’re learning the language in the first place, whether that’s to turn that trip of a lifetime into an unforgettable one, or to give you the chance to strike up friendships with locals. “Language is what defines us as human. It’s what characterises cultures,” says Sarah. Just as with life, with language you will never stop learning new words or new phrases.

Keep practising; when you feel you’ve learned as much as you can, try to use the language as often as possible, so you don’t lose all that hard work! Next time you’re abroad, a local could be so impressed by your efforts they might point you in the direction of somewhere good for food or even a secret place. So decide on your method, set some targets and get started. Make learning a language your next adventure.

KATY GOUGH

■ Casestudy

An expat explains how she went from fearing a French faux pas to ordering crossaints by the Seine.

Why did you decide to learn a language?

Learning to speak another language has always been on my bucket list, so I grabbed the opportunity to live in France. Arriving here with sketchy memories of GCSE French meant I was plunged in at the deep end with a lot of work to be done.

Why do you think languages are perceived to be so hard to learn?

Anything that requires dedication – such as going to the gym or learning to play a musical instrument – is always difficult at the beginning. You have to put in the time to get the results. It would be fantastic if you could become bilingual overnight but sadly there is no quick fix. You’d also miss out on the fun/frustrating journey to becoming fluent in a language.

What different methods did you find most useful when you were learning French?

At the beginning I would sit with a dictionary and an Asterix comic, working through every page. Yes, it took me five hours, but that sense of pride when I understood what I was reading was a real boost! Films, podcasts, language apps and online radio stations also helped. That way I learned much more ‘real’ French.

How did you fit learning a language into your busy schedule?

I’ve never had a formal French lesson; I just tried to use my brain as a little sponge, soaking up everything going on around me – the radio and television are always on in the background.

What are your top tips for learning a language?

Overcome your fear of making mistakes. They will happen but you will learn from them. I was so terrified of making any faux pas I kept my mouth shut for too long but now I just go for it. Even if the sentence isn’t perfectly formed, at least I’m trying!

A Different Generation

My daughter is going off travelling next month. She’s taking in a few interesting places, which as a Dad, have got me worried. When she declared her itinerary, the conversation went something like:

“Sierra Leone? No chance: Ebola.”
“Columbia? Drug barons!”
“Argentina – No way!”
“Why not?”
“Two reasons: The Hand of God & secondly the Falklands. They still hate us. Didn’t you watch Top Gear?”

Now, it would appear that I’m living in the past and that actually Buenos Aries is very cosmopolitan, but our character is very much framed by our experiences and my memories of the Falklands war is seminal in that it was the first time I realised the reality of conflict was not the same as portrayed in a John Wayne movie.

“WE SAW OUR  “DEBT TO INCOME” RATIO SOAR FROM 100% IN 1999 TO A STAGGERING 160% IN 2008.”
“WE SAW OUR “DEBT TO INCOME” RATIO SOAR FROM 100% IN 1999 TO A STAGGERING 160% IN 2008.”

Dealing with advising a wide range of age groups on the subject of wealth and possessions, I do see that our age can determine our attitude to money. The elderly have lived through World Wars and this produced a scarcity of many items that we simply now take for granted. But this has given them a greater value of “things” and there’s a need for tangibility, such as having a passbook for their savings account. It’s real, physical and reassuring to be able to see how much they have. Their wealth is in their hand rather than in the ether. This understanding of value has come about through experiencing scarcity, and also having to have saved up for anything they needed to buy. Thus, although hard, the word austerity is not something new or daunting for them. They’ve always been a careful generation.

“THE WORD AUSTERITY IS NOT SOMETHING NEW OR DAUNTING FOR THEM. THEY’VE ALWAYS BEEN A CAREFUL GENERATION.”
“THE WORD AUSTERITY IS NOT SOMETHING NEW OR DAUNTING FOR THEM. THEY’VE ALWAYS BEEN
A CAREFUL GENERATION.”

Similarly, many cultures revere the qualities of gold, as once again it is tangible, portable, and safe from being gambled away into a crisis by a greedy banker! However, younger generations have known nothing but relative wealth, immediate access through credit, and a confidence in handling their finances through their iPhone.

I still remember the first credit A Different Generation card I got in about 1983. It was the time of “soccer casuals” and the look was a diamond Pringle jumper over a Lyle & Scott roll-neck and Louis Jeans and, with no internet shopping, to look the part involved a shopping trip to London where, having flashed the credit card, four of us left the shop looking the dogs (I’m not going to complete that particular vernacular). Over the next few months I got paid in dribs and drabs down the pub that then bought the next few rounds and I ended up having to forfeit a present and a 21 st birthday party with my Dad paying £100 off my credit card bill! I simply did not have the means to pay it off. Yet again, an experience, which I found so negative, shaped my view and I’ve never gone a month without paying my card off in full.

A Different Generation (1)

I also only have one credit card so in the event of something unforeseen happening such as no work, or an illness, my liability is capped at an affordable amount. I’m from that transitional generation where some seem to have been able to embrace credit and live with it while others have remained wary.

However, as a nation we saw our debt to income ratio soar from 100% in 1999 to a staggering 160% in
2008. We are paying this off and this rate is coming down, but perhaps the experience of this level of credit pain (which is happening at individual, Corporate and Governmental levels) may produce a new generation who will revert to our elders’ view of debt, and revive the lost art of saving. Difficult to imagine whilst the only option for many who only want to better themselves is to take out a loan to cover the cost of university when they leave school