Girls will be girls

Here's a post I wrote for The Jamjar in March of last year. In fact, I've found quite a number of posts in Evernote I don't think I've ever published (see #TacoTuesdays). I think I hadn't posted this due to my complete embarrassment of the first line. I doubt that's what I mean but hey, I wrote it.

I’ve not been very attuned to feminism.

As I type that I wonder why not. I have always worked in industries dominated by men; always strived to not stand out as a woman in those areas; grew up with the marketing slogan “Girls can do anything!” 

I guess I had figured feminists had gone before me (done all the hard work); the path was already paved the way for me to work in careers usually associated with men; to have the choices of life and love that I'm privileged to have. Figured the battle was done because I considered, and was considered, to be hired in any field of work. But it seems the battle hasn't been won - it seems it has barely started - and there is still an enormous amount of work yet to do to achieve equality in opportunities, leadership, and renumeration.

This year I’ve been fortunate enough to be accepted into a programme for women in leadership. My cohort include 25 other women at the University where I work. We’ve only just begun our year, but we have goals defined and intentions set. When we last met, it seemed that everyone I spoke with said they were feeling more supported and felt on a firmer footing for the work we’ve already done on the programme - working hard to create the platform from which we will grow and achieve. 

A few weeks ago Alice Eagly spoke as a Distinguished Speaker at the University of Auckland’s Business School. She spoke of the lack of women in senior roles, but also pointed out we still have challenges at all levels, not just up there at the “glass ceiling". That the very words we use as characteristics of a good leader - confidence, authority, toughness - also align themselves closely to how we see men. Women, on the other hand, we see as supportive, nurturing, social.

When women come to a leadership positions, our idea of men align closer to the fit that our idea of women.

But ideas of leadership are changing. Leadership is being seen more of a collaborative, social, relationship-based, transformational set of traits which may, in part, align closer to the way women operate and not in small part because more women are moving into leadership positions.

  • "If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman." - Margaret Thatcher
  • "Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition." - Marilyn Monroe
  • "A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous." - Coco Chanel
  • "One is not born a woman, but becomes one." - Simone de Beauvoir
  • "Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the magic and delicious power of reflecting the figure of a man at twice its natural size." - Virginia Woolf
  • "Whatever glory belongs to the race for a development unprecedented in history for the given length of time, a full share belongs to the womanhood of the race." - Mary Jane McLeod Bethune
  • "Whether women are better than men I cannot say - but I can say they are certainly no worse." - Golda Meir
  • "A free race cannot be born of slave mothers." - Margaret Higgins Sanger
  • "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."- Maya Angelou
  • "Women are the largest untapped reservoir of talent in the world." - Hillary Clinton
  • "Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness." - Oprah Winfrey
  • "I really don't think I need buns of steel. I'd be happy with buns of cinnamon." - Ellen DeGeneres
  • "Women are leaders everywhere you look -- from the CEO who runs a Fortune 500 company to the housewife who raises her children and heads her household. Our country was built by strong women, and we will continue to break down walls and defy stereotypes." - Nancy Pelosi
  • "Women are the real architects of society." - Cher
  • "Extremists have shown what frightens them the most: a girl with a book." - Malala Yousafzai