Dear Entrepreneur Barbie

Mentors and role models are so important to success these days, especially for women in business. For me the idea of a mentor was something I only took seriously in the past few years. However when Entrepreneur Barbie burst on the scene I realized I had had a role model for quite some time. So I thought I’d drop her a line….

Dear Entrepreneur Barbie,

Welcome to the corporate world! Well that’s what we called it in my day. That was when you wore a blue polyester dress, carried a pink briefcase and your phone was at your desk.


You were dating my Cowboy Kevin and your girlfriends wore an array of outfits that would range from a gold mesh leotard to a puffed up bridesmaid. But no matter what they wore at night, they all had careers – not day jobs.

It was the 80s and I used to play Sheena Easton’s Morning Train for you, as you got ready for work. While I knew your tight little figure would feed my insecurities for years to come you let me live out a childhood dream. You were confident, ambitious, well paid and there was no gender bias in your miniature world of high flyers.

Nonetheless like many childhood dreams, reality kicked in at puberty and you gracefully took your place in the shoebox of dreams under the bed.

barbie

But like all the other fads from the 80s, you came back. Fresh with a makeover to make “a bold business move and strike out on (your) own to achieve (your) career dreams.”

With your smart phone and i-pad you’re going to break that glass ceiling!

And this time you may just do it.

You see whether in polyester or in hot pink Chanel you help young girls believe they too could have more than a professional career but a vocation. And I don’t think that childhood belief ends at puberty. Today 39.2% of women aged 25-29 are achieving a bachelor degree or above. This is 8% more than men.

However when we break in to the workforce us full-timers earn 17.5% less than men and represent just 3.5% of CEOs in the ASX 200.

Despite these sad statistics we actually have come some way. Since the 80s the proportion of women working in more skilled occupations has increased and our participation in the workforce is up by 12.6%.

So forget for a moment your ancestors have been traced back to an Ayrian sex doll and that your figure contributes to our continual problem with body image. Instead let’s acknowledge that sometimes you may just give young girls something positive to believe in.

Your friend,

Louise

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