International Women’s Day is upon us and 2018 is being hailed as the year for women. Here are three things we can focus on to move forward with the BIG CHANGE being created:
1. Focus on the magnitude of the solution (not the problem)
Recent campaigns have heightened awareness of the ‘magnitude of the problem’ faced by women and the common experiences being shared by us all around the world.
Moving forward in 2018, let’s focus on the ‘magnitude of the solution’ in that women are connecting with each other, sharing our experiences and supporting each other within our professional fields and beyond.
From my own personal experience and my research with women in the legal profession two years ago, women felt hugely unsupported by each other in the profession. Sheryl Sandberg highlights in her book ‘Lean in’, that successful women are less popular and liked by both men and women.
In the last few years, I’ve felt a real shift in the way successful women are being perceived and it’s highlighted by the huge support we’re now giving to each other to rise into being a better, more powerful version of ourselves and to achieve success on our own terms.
Let’s focus on the magnitude of the solution which is underpinned by us as women – connecting, supporting and rising together.
2. Focus on the future (not the past)
We have come a long way in the last 100 years but there is still a way to go in terms of women leading from the front and doing it in a way that is creative with compassion and outside the current ways of ‘conditioned thinking’
Recent campaigns have been phenomenal in bringing women together but let’s face it the focus has been on the adversity we’ve faced by way of sexual harassment and our experience as victims.
It’s important that we talk about these things and the past but even more important is that we focus on the future and set powerful intentions in creating more women as leaders and change makers. How can we support the next generation of women to become just that?
Let’s focus on the future and create the change that’s needed.
3. Focus on inclusion (not exclusion)
Men want to support us and let’s be careful to not exclude them. The media creates an “Us and Them blame culture” and we need to stop buying into it. Sheryl Sandberg has recently highlighted that recent campaigns may have the unexpected effect of discouraging men from mentoring women in professional fields due to sexual harassment allegations being at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
Moving forward is about understanding and inclusion. Not about separation, dividing lines and creation of an enemy. Recent campaigns have caused bloggers to jump on the women’s campaign bandwagon making grossly inaccurate assertions such as “women are simply demonstrating to the world that they are in increased danger from the moment they step over the front doorstep’’ (Sali Hughes – The Pool). Crime statistics consistently show that men are at a much greater risk of violence when they leave their homes compared to women. It is agreed, women are more at risk within the home but that sexual offences and domestic abuse are also hugely under reported by men. Another huge reason why men should not be excluded from what we’re talking about as they are experiencing it too but are talking about it even less than we are.
Let’s focus on inclusion and including men, rather than separating them out from the conversation.