In June 2016 there was the United States of Women Summit with a truly amazing line up, that included speakers ranging from Gloria Steinem to Oprah to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Mariecella Herrera Avila, a self-described “professional feminist”, was there and in her review of the event felt that the biggest question that she had was:
What can I, as a non-famous individual, do to create real change for gender equity?
In her quest to provide a way to answer this question, Mariecella has created 5 simple things that we all can do, regardless of where and who we are.
This month as a part of its delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 5) to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, FCTG is committed to play its part – read on to understand how YOU can create change. #mySDGpledge
1. Know yourself
At the 2016 Summit in her inspiring conversation with Oprah...Michelle Obama shared her thoughts about the importance of knowing who you are.
“I tell my mentees and I tell my daughters, that our first job in life as women is to get to know ourselves.
There is a limited box that we are put in, and if we live by that limited definition, we miss out on a lot of who we are.” - Michelle Obama
It’s hard to know what you stand for, what you truly believe and are passionate about, if you don’t know yourself. Also, if you don’t know your fundamental beliefs, then how can you convince others to believe them?
2. Challenge gender norms
“The first thing you need to do about gender norms is forget them.” - Amy Poehler
Yes, there is a lot of implicit bias on how the media portrays girls and boys. The younger generations are already throwing these messages out the window, and we should, too.
We need to keep sharing the stories of the women CEOs, scientists and engineers, of the stay at home dads, of every single person who has dared to lead a different path - because it’s hard to be or aspire to what you cannot see.
3. Be courageous, have a voice, stand up for yourself and lead by example
“Be bold. Be courageous. Lead” - Juliana Chugg, EVP Chief Brand Officer, Mattel, Inc.
The stories about the people who believe in equality and who challenge the norms should be shared until they are so common that they are not seen as outside the mainstream.
President Obama always promoted the fact that stories matter. We admire the courage and the fearlessness in stories.
If you see something, say something. Now is the time for you to speak up about inequities and to call out injustices when you see them. It’s not an easy thing to do, but the world will not change if we turn a blind eye to them.
4. Help other women. End the era of the “Queen Bee”.
There’s this thought that women don’t like helping other women. Sallie Krawcheck, Chair of Ellevate Network, has written about the “queen bee” phenomenon and why it needs to end. It does.
We’re a whole lot better off when we help lift each other up and we all work together to reach our goals.
“Speak, give powerful feedback and help others be stronger than they thought they could be.” - Deborah Rosado Shaw, SVP Chief Global Diversity & Engagement Officer at PepsiCo.
5. Do it over and over and over again.
At FCTG we know all about discipline and the need to keep trying (and failing) and getting back up again, and that change doesn’t happen overnight. The more we raise our voices even though sometimes we get shouted down, the more we recognise that we, as individuals, really do have the power to make the world the place we want it to be.
We encourage all of our Womenwise Committee members and Ambassadors to connect, in fact all FCTG women to celebrate, to collaborate, to create change with our women because after all, when women support women...great things happen.
This article has been extracted from 5 Things You Can Do To Improve Gender Equality Today
Further great reading...
There are other fantastic articles referred to in Mariecella’s piece:
My 8 Pieces Of Business And Money Advice For My Daughter
Why Female Role Models Matter
Queen Bee, RIP....and Why It's Great for Business
Why Aren't More Women Supporting Women at Work?