It’s time to leave parity in the past and include yourself.
It seems that everyone, everywhere is talking, posting or speaking on the gender parity and inclusion topic these days. Even the media is commenting or covering a story with statistics related to the conundrum plaguing women in business: women aren’t progressing because the paths aren’t there.
It’s so loud that you want to slip under the covers and stay there.
Still as long as there’s a variance in the numbers of men and women in roles of leadership, this narrative will continue. The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) reports it will remain for the next 117 years.
Its Affect on Women
The whole gender parity narrative has left a dark cloud over women and how we see ourselves as leaders. The truth of the matter is there are just as many men in the world who aren’t making it into the executive ranks for the exact same reasons women aren’t, such as, not believing they are ready, not showing up authentically, or not valuing their gender as an asset.
But the reality is women have to change this narrative.
Invariably, we women have become so firmly embedded in a particular mindset around our gender and limitations based on stories that may not be completely true, out of date or just not relevant to all women.
Here’s the reality: There are many millions of women all over the world who have made it in leadership and income parity in male dominated spaces. So it shouldn’t be an excuse for you or me to settle for where we are in our careers─ whether in the corporate or entrepreneurial space.
It boils down to which part of the story you want to listen to.
If you want to embrace new opportunities, create a career change, have the energy and grit to pursue your dreams or become a more authentic, resilient leader, it’s not going to be because the feminist narrative somehow made it happen for you.
It’s going to be because you learned the behaviors and applied the skills to achieve your own outcomes, just like every other woman who’s “made hers”.
And it’s going to be because you decided to leave the past, change your present influencers and plan for a better future.
Inclusiveness Starts with Us Women
Instead of hopping on the bandwagon that shakes and rattles on about your limitations and hindrances only because you’re a woman, consider these three options:
- Change your view. In the past you’ve been reliving, rehearsing and reminding yourself that you’re a victim who’s always being sidelined from the better positions. How you see yourself is your reality. Know that you aren’t defined by statistics and opinions on the discourse around women at work. Choose today to harness a mental renewal of who you actually are. You’re a woman who chooses to put your focus on the opportunities you see simply because of your gender.
- Show up differently. In the past you’ve shown up as the assertive, aggressive ‘counterfeit’ leader who carries only masculine powers and traits so you can fit in and get ahead. Who you believe you are is how you show up. When you value who you are others respect that. Knowing when to use your feminine traits such as compassion, empathy, vulnerability, optimism and collaboration is a more authentic and balanced way for you to show up that will make you happier while positively impacting others. Show up as a woman who knows how to manage both the masculine and feminine traits understanding that your femininity is your asset.
- Harmonize the nurturing. In the past you’ve looked after everyone at work and everyone at home while at the same time working hard to get ahead. Giving yourself away will burn you out. Equality begins at home. Allow your husband and family the opportunity to also be nurturers. Ask for and then unselfishly receive their help. Home life carries over into the workplace. Revisit your values. Restore what gives you a sense of passion and purpose at work then seek clarity of whether the company culture and your own authenticity is a fit. When your life is in harmony you have freedom to decide whether it’s worth building a career there in the first place.
The gender and inclusive narrative doesn’t have to affect you as a woman or even how you work because you’re a woman. Stop fighting for equality. But do fight for being comfortable with who you are, speaking your truth and mastering the mindset and behaviors you need in your own situation to achieve your own personal goals.
You can improve your work, relationships, leadership and performance simply by choosing to include yourself today that will bring more happiness and fulfillment to your future.