Cecelia Robinson: the entire business world needs to change its view

Luke Parker
Cecelia Robinson: the entire business world needs to change its view

A happy balance between work and home life is the next big challenge for women in the workplace, says My Food Bag founder Cecelia Robinson.

The 2017 Women of Influence Supreme Award recipient believes the entire business world needs to change its view on how employees manage their work and home life.

“We can’t have a 1900s view, or 20th and 21st century view, being at work from 8am until 6pm or 8am until 5pm every day. I think a lot more people now, and in particular women, are looking for balance available to be more present with their children.

“The next big challenge is focusing on ensuring that we can achieve the talent that we require in our workforce whilst also ensuring that they’ve got a happy balance at home.

“It’s not just for women, it’s for women and men, because if you are a woman and you are in a relationship, it impacts your husband as well. It’s about finding that balance and actually enabling people to have flexibility.”

The 80s and 90s are gone

Cecelia says that different generations have different priorities but in the end it boils down to the same thing.

“You’re getting all this research coming out now saying that Millennials don't really care about job titles, which I’m not sure if it’s true or not, but I think at the end of the day what people actually care about is doing a job where they’ve got purpose but still enjoying their life.

“If we want to retain and draw from across the talents in the workforce, we have to give them the opportunity for both. You can’t just continually sacrifice your home life for your job.

“I think that was a lot of the view of the 80’s and 90’s was that you were either a corporate mum or a stay-at-home mum, and that’s not actually the way that people want to live their lives.”

Cecelia’s advice for young women starting out

“You can do everything but you can never do it alone. You have to pair yourself with amazing people.”

The My Food Bag founder says she has an incredible husband who she works with both at their business as well as alongside at home.

“So you have to be able to pair yourself with the right people. And also ask for flexibility and demonstrate that you can be really present and that you can achieve at work but that you can also have successful home life. You know you don’t have to pick between the two.”

125th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand

This year marks the 125th Anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand and celebrates the significant milestones and progress women have achieved over this period.

When asked what she hopes the work environment will look like for women in another 125 years, Cecelia says: “I just hope that we’re going in the direction where there’s no debate at that point because we’ve achieved everything we’ve wanted to achieve.

“The fact that there’s still a pay equity problem, we don’t have enough parental leave in New Zealand for women or for men, there are all of these issues that need to be resolved.

“I hope that in another 125 years it’s just a given, it’s just normal and the way we live our lives where it’s just no longer a debate because we don’t need a debate. That would be great.”

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