Happy International Women’s Day! Happy #IWD2022!
Today, March 8th, marks the 111th anniversary of International Women’s Day, a day that honors the fight for our rights as women– to end hunger, end poverty, end domestic violence, fight for gender equality and rally around each other as women.
The shaping of a woman starts with you, and it starts with me. It starts with the encouraging messages we tell our daughters (and sons). It starts with planting seeds… many seeds over time. My parents planted those seeds in me, and I am forever grateful. They never told me I could be equal to a man – because there was no reason to be. I was told to keep my eye on the prize, go for what I want, and work hard to prove to myself that I could make something happen. Men didn’t matter – my goals were what mattered. “Always be the hardest working person in the room and go the extra mile no one else is willing to go,” my dad would tell me. “When they can’t outwork out, you become valuable, then you become invaluable, and that my sweetie, will become your real advantage.”
I was just a little girl with a dream, who was told that failure IS an option – failure simply means that you’re trying. It means you’re going for something. Failure was not something to be afraid of, or ashamed of. So, as a result, I became good at… rather, I have become good at, trying and failing, getting back up, and figuring out a new path.
While many people use gender equality to talk about this day, I prefer to see it as a fine balance.
I broke my thoughts up into three areas: balance for better in the workplace, balance for better in your relationship, and balance for better with other women.
Let’s do this…
Balance in the Workplace
Women have made strides over the years in the workplace. Companies are starting to really see the value of female leadership. However, there are still organizations that uphold the notion of the “old boys’ club.” There are still areas of work that are dominated by males, and if we are to sit at the table with men, if we are to break through the glass ceiling in the workplace, there is still more to be done.
So, here are some ideas.
If we are looking to break through that glass ceiling, we have to be willing to: TAKE INITIATIVE, ALWAYS BE VISIBLE, and BECOME A RESOURCE. Ask to spearhead the next project. Be visible in team meetings. Show leadership right in your current position. Become an INTRAPRENEUR (someone within a company who shows entrepreneurial skill). We will have to go beyond the job description. The truth is, to advance, you have to be willing to do the things the common person in your job isn’t. Being a phenomenal resource makes your irreplaceable, and well, once you are irreplaceable, you are in the driver’s seat of your career.
Next, don’t be afraid to ask for advancement opportunities (meaning a move up or department change or raise). There’s no perfect time to ask to be properly compensated for your hard work, but a good time is during your annual or semi-annual review. And don’t you be afraid to ask for that meeting with your boss if your review isn’t anywhere in sight! Send an email asking for a meeting, and make it clear that you’d like to discuss your performance and opportunities within the organization. Bring notes into the meeting with clear examples/evidence of positive changes and contributions you have made to the company, making your value evident.
Shattering the glass ceiling starts with you and you and you and me.
Balance in your Marriage or Relationship
This is a big one for me. I feel very strongly about having a voice in your marriage. I am thankful I was given the tools to manifest a life where I developed my self-esteem, and in turn, I was able to confidently find my voice in my relationship. I didn’t come easy – I worked hard at this.
There are many reasons why women are not equals in their relationship, but so much of it comes down to self esteem. If you struggle, Google articles, books, podcasts on how you can build, develop and exercise your self-esteem muscle, and you will begin to find your voice too, little by little.
That said, I still want my husband to open the door for me, send me flowers on our anniversary, pay for date night, send me love notes, and do other chivalrous acts. I am a proud feminist, I love earning my own money, and consider myself an equal partner in my marriage, but I still enjoy being treated like a queen. Hello! I still enjoy being dominated and passive in my marriage sometimes. I can’t, nor do I want to be an alpha all the time. You might not agree with me, but that’s my own personal comfort level.
Balance with Other Women
I will be blunt here: don’t you find that sometimes it’s sadly other women who are the most critical of other women? And I have shared this often, but I’ll share it again for our new readers: what I have found is, it’s often the women who don’t risk, or who haven’t taken a chance and fallen yet, who are the most guilty of this “judgey” behavior. Yes, after working with women around the world for twenty years as a life coach, speaker and entrepreneur, I can tell you, it’s the people who are out there risking, falling or failing, and then trying to get back up, who judge others the least.
Anyone who risks, is humbled by life. And they ain’t as quick to judge.
So, we have to circle back to that good ol’ self esteem on International Women’s Day. When you are a woman in your own skin, empowered, in charge, you don’t trash-talk, or belittle, or body shame, or get off on other people’s woes. You lift others up. You encourage your friends. You get happy for other people’s success.
I get it, though. I totally do. We are only human. When our lives feel dark, or feel like we don’t have much good going on at the moment, we can be tempted to judge others quickly. But I urge us all, to put our finger back in our pocket, and get to work. Work on ourselves. Work on our own lives.
We also must be each other’s cheerleaders. We must fix each other’s crowns.
On International Women’s Day, I’d love us all to find our balance, our power and our voice in all facets of our daily lives: at work, in our relationships, and with each other.
And then go teach THAT to our daughters, our FUTURE women.
And finally, I am sending love and strength to the fearless women of Ukraine who are forced to do everything to hold their families together while their country is under siege.