You Know You Are A Woman, Not A Girl When…

I often find interesting articles in the Sunday Times Style magazine related to working women. Recently though I loved a feature called ‘Cherchez La Femme’ about moving from being a girl to becoming a woman. These thoughts in particular resonated with me:

  • ‘When other women are no longer the enemy’
  • ‘When you acquire your first protege’
  • ‘When you want to walk into a party on your own’

And here are some of my own:

  • You realise it’s better to have 3 close friends your whole life than a gaggle of acquaintances you feel guilty about not keeping in touch with
  • In Autumn you are happy to reach for your trusty opaque tights
  • You order what you want from the menu rather than picking around a salad
  • The home section of TKMaxx holds more appeal than the clothes
  • In meetings you use ‘In my opinion’ rather than ‘It’s only my opinion but’

I realised that the subtle change comes when you no longer feel the need to please others and are confident in just being yourself. You don’t see other women as competition. So I recommend you enjoy being a woman by burning your scented candles, wear your best jewellery, and invest in lovely sheets – just for you. A woman doesn’t wait for special occasions but makes every day special instead. I would love to hear your ‘I knew I was a woman when’ stories so please leave them in the comments below.

For career strategies for women in business check out Beyond the Boys’ Club: Strategies for Achieving Career Success as a Woman Working in a Male Dominated Field


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  • Enid

    I knew I was a woman when I stopped wondering what people thought of me and started celebrating my uniqueness by approaching people as myself rather than as ‘How I thought they wanted to see me’

  • Nathalie

    I realised I had become a woman when
    - I had the courage to say to my mother that I was a good mother even though she was pretending the contrary, and that I considered her not having been the “perfect” mother as she pretends
    - also when I was not ashamed at all having had three children with three different men and claiming being happy to go back home to take care of my kids instead of staying late in the office for extra hours but also happy to come back to the office for doing my job that I like very much on the morning after
    - when claiming that I was not only a mother but also a woman and that my partner’s love and sexual relationship was as important as the love I receive from my kids.
    In brief when I could claim without feeling uncomfortable that what I am is : a woman, a mother and a worker at the same time without having to sacrifice one to the others. ;-)

  • Suzanne

    Natalie, you are so spot on! Why is it so hard for women to accept ourselves as we are? And why are mother’s expectations such a big part of that? They can be our greatest advocates and critics (often in the same package!) which is probably why we do the same to ourselves!

  • Nathalie

    My mother’s generation was still following the patriarchal model ( I was born in the 60ies), and even though since then there has been May 68 and the sexual and “feminist” revolution, it seems that this latter generation struggles between two contradictory assumptions :
    1. Our daughters need to study and to have their own job and their financial independance (I have been educated by my mother in the strong idea that I should NEVER depend on a man)in order not to have to endure the same sufferings or frustrations. “We want better for them”.
    2. Our daughters are less good mothers than us because they are more “selfish”, they take care of themselves (and not exclusively of their husband or children).
    We could think that there is a bit of jealousy behind this behaviour but I most probably think that my generation projects an image of our mothers as not having been “courageous” enough or able to do the same or as much. This leading to a big frustration on their side and a feeling of being guilty. And they project this “guilty” feeling on us through reproaches on our new “more assumed” behaviour.
    It will take another generation to balance this gap between our mother’s sincere wishes for their daughters and the mirror effect on their own past behaviour.
    Nevertheless, they should never forget that we are grateful to them for having opened the path towards morer respect for women while accepting that we are different from them.