I grew up in an idyllic world where every possibility was open to me – my parents may have raised an eyebrow when I announced I was going to be an astronaut, complete with career path mapped out that at the time was apparently not open to me (apparently women were not airforce pilots in those days) – but they never said it wasn’t suitable for me as a woman. I was encouraged to program, solder things and make things. I was also encouraged to cook and sew and read anything I wanted. I had Barbie dolls and wanted a pretty pink and lace bedroom, but I could also pull apart a power supply and use a hammer.
So, when I first encountered sexism in the workplace I was confused. I really didn’t know what was going on. The idea that my gender would play a role in anything other than whether or not I might give birth one day was just a completely alien concept to me.
So, when I come across things like the following website I am genuinely perplexed – most of the “men” running these kinds of companies these days grew up around the same time frame as I did. Did they not have mothers? Do they not have girlfriends or wives even and how can they live in a world and be so utterly blind to equality issues? I do understand the idea that people don’t have a good feel for issues that do not affect them, but how you would do this is beyond me.
So, it appears that Terry of the UK Small Business Directory (owned and run by Access Appraisals Ltd. a company registered in England and Wales and with the company number 4537420 and VAT number 812494925) has a problem with women. Take a look at the home page of his website http://www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/ which this morning was sporting a lovely paragraph giving his true thoughts on female small business owners –
For those on slower connections, the introductory paragraph currently reads
Please note: This is a serious website for serious men with serious businesses.
If you are just a little housewife running a little play business from home earning some pin money whilst your man is out earning a living – please don’t register your
latest hobbybusiness here.
Yep, what a man!
Oh and his name is also a link to his Google profile – https://plus.google.com/+TerrySimmonds/about where you’ll find all sorts of interesting tidbits, such as this:
There’s also a photo clearly cut out of a holiday snap with a jaunty tropical hat on – professional? Not my idea of professional. Still there’s some links so we’ll pop over to his LinkedIn page – this is a site where most people will present their professional self. We see his photo here is of a car. OK, so the guy’s a bogan*. After a bit of digging we can confirm that he is the managing director for the company that owns this site.
Now, back to the original website there. Most of these SEO companies run a directory of some sort. The idea is that it provides links to your website and therefore increases your SEO – it’s one of the cheap tricks they employ to get you to the top of results so it’s not surprising that they have a couple of these. They generally offer free basic ads, but you shouldn’t really be fooled – most ordinary people don’t bother going to the site itself.
My feeling about all of this is that the statement was most likely NOT written by the guy. According to Companies House this business has been incorporated for 12 years now, noone could exist that long if they were that monumentally stupid. However, having worked in the industry and experienced some mindblowing misogyny and sexism where I was offered a choice between quitting or being fired when I announced my pregnancy, I’m inclined to think that where there’s smoke there’s probably fire. I reckon this guy has probably mistreated a female member of staff who had access to the website and who decided to post up his actual views for all the world to see. If that’s the case then there’s no less sympathy than for the alternative option which is that he posted it himself.
What I find even more surprising is that I first heard about this via Twitter at 8am – it’s now 12:30 and nothing has changed. Surely the guy has noticed the spike in traffic – or maybe his thinks that is due purely to his brilliant SEO? If not perhaps he’s noticed his hone ringing off the hook? He’s not answering by the way. Or if that hasn’t alerted him to something going on, surely someone who has monitoring their online presence would be aware of the buzz around his name and his other sites by now??
Now whether or not Terry put the post up himself or not, if you advertise on his site I would strongly suggest that you stop as soon as possible – you don’t want to be tarred with the same brush.
And Terry, if you did indeed sanction this, well I hope that you enjoy the fallout cos it’s gonna be spectacular!
* Bogan (n) Australian – an uncouth or uncultured person.