Within weeks of joining the bank, I became aware of barriers to my progress that were simply not there for my male equivalents. Women weren't given a chance to prove themselves, men bonded in strip clubs, women were paid less than their male counterparts, sexist 'banter' ruled - and that was before I even noticed what was happening to the one other female executive in my department, who had just had a baby.
I have been doing quite a bit of work recently on issues regarding 'stay at home mums' or SAHM's as they endearingly like to be called, versus working mums, who like to be called productive. I am struck that no matter what the issue, no matter how inert or economically sound in its presentation, SAHMs and working mums will fight about it.
Last week was Adult Learners Week, a time to encourage adults from all walks of life to keep on learning - even busy working mums like me! When I left school, I thought all that was behind me, but my apprenticeship has taught me all kinds of new skills and made a big difference to myself and my family.
Coming from a family where my mum has always the breadwinner, it is perhaps not surprising that I automatically see the role of women in the workplace as critical. I cringe in horror that she was once told she couldn't make a purchase without my Dad's authority and yet, in living my own life (including a stint in Corporate!) I really did think things had changed.
Almost 21 months ago, I gave birth to my greatest inspiration, my son Corey. After a year's maternity leave I was certain that the full-time job was not for me. So, I decided to embark on a freelance, writing career with the great expectation (albeit unrealistic!) that this was the key to achieving that perfect, work/life balance.