On the radio this morning, for once Woman’s Hour actually made me want to cheer. Arianna Huffington,editor-in-chief of the online newspaper ‘The Huffington Post,’ was discussing her latest venture: the ‘third women’s revolution. The first revolution was women getting the vote, the second was getting an equal place at every level of society…’ she continues, adding that this revolution is still unfinished.The third revolution is changing the world that men have designed. It’s not sustainable. Sustainability is not just about the environment, it’s personal sustainability.’ The Third Metric was born when Ms Huffington fainted from exhaustion in 2007. We have created a world where success equals power and money. Obtaining power and lots of money will always be unachievable for most but the drive to attain success will mean, for the many who strive for it, the sacrificing of ones time and health. It is well documented that hard work kills; think high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attacks.
Ms Huffington’s idea is that there should also be a third metric for success, which is defined by our health and well-being, our wisdom to make good decisions and our ability to enjoy out lives and give back to the community. It might all sound very trite and perhaps obvious but so many of us are on a treadmill that it is worth considering other ways of organising our lives or prioritising differently. So many of us are permanently connected to technology and thus miss the true human connections which everybody needs and which can make us more creative and effective in our life at work and otherwise.But we tend to laud the workaholics; those who work long hours and have little sleep are described as ‘grafters’ or ‘dedicated’ or ‘studious.’ Rarely are they described as ‘sleep-deprived’ or ‘manic’ or ‘stressheads.’If society doesn’t change we are going to pay the price in health care costs, the effects of which are already coming through and also in terms of the way decisions are being made.’We have a lot of leaders with high IQs in politics, business and the media making terrible decisions. This is not because they are not smart, but because they are disconnected from their own wisdom and best judgment. They are too stressed and tired.’ The Huffington post employees are reaping the benefits of their boss’s new initiative; beds and sleep pods have been installed in the offices, weekly meditation and yoga classes were also introduced, and instructions sent out that any work-related emails sent out of hours need not expect a reply.
Although on Woman’s Hour The Third Metric was lauded as a radical and much need initiative, it wasn’t noted that the Woman’s Hour Power List is a perfect example of the promoting of money and power as the definition of success.The women on the list are not I think people who have embraced a healthy coexistence of their working lives and their personal lives.’If a woman wants to stay home and take care of her children, why shouldn’t we respect that as much as the woman who wants to be a CEO?’ I think it will be a very long time before the CEO and the full-time mother have equal status on Woman’s Hour or anywhere else.