Why don’t we want to hear women speak?

The voices of women have been silenced for centuries.

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The stereotype “women love to chat” is persuasive and seemingly contradictive to my initial question. But lets look at that contradiction closely and touch on the subject of geography. 

When I pose the question “why don’t we want to hear women speak?” I’m referring to executive board meetings, community meetings, world forums, work seminars and the obvious one of all – the master of ceremonies. That’s the geography I’m referring to. The audience does not have a choice in listening to a woman speak. Unless you chose to walk out of the room – which I’ve had happen to me and have seen happen to other women. 

The ‘”women love to chat” stereotype belongs in backyard BBQ’s, baby showers and the workplace cooler. It’s irrelevant, and cements men’s throwaway comments about women’s ‘nonsensical’ chatter. 

Lets talk “Master of Ceremonies”. That most exalted position. The term master was often used to address young boys before they become men. The actual term “Master of Ceremonies” has been found in Catholic Church documents dating back to the 5th century and “was and still is an official of the papal court responsible for the proper and smooth conduct of the elegant and elaborate rituals involving the Pope and the sacred liturgy”. 

The 5th Century. Are we serious? It’s now the 21st century and men overwhelmingly still dominate the speaker circuit. And they overwhelming dominant Masters of Ceremonies. Our society is still run by a 5th Century male only religious, ritualistic doctrine. Not one person I know questions the use of the words “Master of Ceremonies” and yes I know people are getting tired and overwhelmed at having all they have ever known held up for question but consider this quote in one of Steven Pressfield’s books.  

It’s a line from “Breaking Bad”.  Bryan Cranston’s character Walter White is attempting to explain chemistry. 

“Change. Chemistry is the study of change. Elements combine and change into compounds. That’s all of life, right? Solution, dissolution. Growth. Decay. Transformation. It’s fascinating, really.”

It’s the most fascinating aspect of life to me. Transformation. As a society we have been resisting it so long and now we are being plunged head first into it at warp speed. Some people willingly, most kicking and screaming. 

I’ve sat on four boards now. Without exception, a man’s name will come up first for Master of Ceremonies. Globally, the speaker circuit and Master of Ceremonies gigs are heavily dominated by men’s voices, thoughts and opinions. 

But I have a story to tell.  A difficult life in the military, a car accident that left me for dead. A titanium skull and a disability that left me unable to drive. Healed by hiking Everest base camp, travelling 30 countries and graduating with a Masters degree 3 years after having to learn to walk and talk again. 

But it’s not the details of my life that are important.  My transformation came through insight, self-awareness, self-love and self-worth.  Rewiring childhood beliefs and old thought patterns. That’s the chemistry of my life experience. That’s the gift of my trauma and joy to humanity. 

All of us have a story to tell. All of us can master a ceremony with grace and wisdom. 

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