I struggled this week on what I wanted to share with you. I actually had one article written and another in draft mode, but neither were hitting the mark for me instinctually.
This morning I woke with a rush of energy and intense passion. I knew exactly what my message needed to be. Read on if you are ready to be inspired and at the same time feel a little uncomfortable.
We, as women in leadership (by the way, that’s you), need to persist in having our voices heard. You need to speak up for other women who may not for varying reasons (i.e. fear, physical abuse) cannot in their current situation. You need to speak up for your mothers, daughters, sons, grandchildren and next door neighbors.
As recent as this week, a prominent, high profile female leader in our government was silenced… like a lamb. You cannot convince me that our beloved suffragettes who persisted for hours, days, weeks and years to blow the door wide open for our ability to express our opinions and views would accept what’s happening.
Many of us have been in this situation before. At a dinner party or in a meeting where you speak up only to be cut off by a man. I’ve witnessed this more times than I can count. I’ve had phone calls the next day from teary-eyed smart, savvy women who cried into the phone asking: “Was I being too aggressive?” “Did my opinion seem valid to you?” Please. Stop. You are freaking brilliant.
Yes, the Women’s March on January 20 was a success. There were a total of 324,421,240 according to the U.S. Census Population Clock (Forbes, January 23, 2017). But, you cannot expect that ONE DAY to replace needed activity EVERY DAY. You need to do something regularly to get your voice heard & exercise your leadership muscle.
Maybe you wonder if what I’m sharing with you here is valid. See for yourself. Check out the 2016 Women in the Workplace Study.
Yes, I know many of you are business owners and entrepreneurs, but what about the other women who don’t own their own enterprise? We need to wake UP.
So, of course by now, some of you may be thinking, “Joy, I agree with much of what you are saying, but what can I do?”
Here are 6 tips that (with persistence) can begin to pave a path for women leadership in your home and community:
- Take a verbal seat at the table – when having dinner with your family & friends, make sure your voice is heard at the table. If you are discussing a topic that you have a strong internal reaction to, speak up! Let everyone around the table hear that you have a perspective!
- Get plugged in – Everyone enjoys hanging out with their friends on social media. It can be fun and entertaining, but don’t forget to plug into world news. Choose one news reporting medium that you enjoy (New York Times, Wallstreet Journal, Huffington Post, etc.) and peruse it often.
- Start a Leadership Book Club – seek out like-minded women in your community that are curious about the leadership traits of successful women in both business and government. Research information on these women and come together once a month to discuss.
- Start your own blog – I’m certain that if “blogging” had been around when Susan B. Anthony was alive, she’d be publishing a post every day.
- Join local community boards – Some years ago, I was a member of the Governing Council at my children’s school which was instrumental in making big decisions about school policy and how money was spent on education from the fundraising efforts. Start with something small & doable. Try it on and see how it feels.
- Run for public office – if you have a secret desire to be a decision-maker in local, state or federal politics, run in your next election! There is a plethora of information online about how to get started. Here is just one of the many resources I found. http://howtorunforoffice.org
If you haven’t flexed your leadership muscle lately or spoken out about something you believe in, let me warn you that it will feel uncomfortable (like a sweater that’s a size 2 and you definitely need a size 6). But, it is so worth it! It needs to become a necessary & essential part of your day.
And when you do speak up, let me know what happened. I’d love to hear all about it.
You are brilliant. I believe in you.