Are You Awake Enough to Be on the Female Leadership Pipeline?
We keep ranting about the dearth of women in leadership (thank you MamaBee and Young Women Misbehavin' and MomsRising and Sloan Work and Family Institute) and we need to. We can lobby to shift workplace policies and culture like Deloitte did. We need to work from that vantage, but it's all a BandAid fix, all smoke and mirrors unless we wake up and acknowledge that our self leadership is the starting point.
For the kinds of sustainable change we're after, we're going to need to work systemically—inside ourselves, and inside our workplaces. Starting with ourselves first, we need to:
- Discover or rediscover our self worth;
- Know what we want and what we value;
- Ask for it and get it.
This may seem obvious...
- We chronically undervalue ourselves and give our services away for a song.
- We play the long-suffering victim and complain how "nobody in this household ever pitches in with chores."
- We gossip at the water cooler about how Jane got a promotion and malign her boldness, while we would never think to ask for one ourselves.
- We work harder than anyone else to be indispensable, hoping someone will notice and give us a raise or promotion.
- We table our dreams and goals as frivolous in favor of helping everyone else achieve theirs.
- We see our livelihoods as cute little hobbies only worthy as long as our partner has a paycheck.
- We don't ask for help with car pooling or babysitting.
- We have Knee-Jerk Yes Syndrome, and then blame the world for our lack of balance.
Granted, it's a global problem.
Worldwide, women and women's work are not valued. But we women have to wake up first. We have to wake up and see how and where we ingest the vagaries of oppression as normal and resign ourselves to "that's just the way it is."
In Babcock and Laschever's book, Women Don't Ask, they describe a phenomenon that is at the heart of our self worth. Girl children are given girl chores like dishes and laundry and vacuuming and expected to do them. Boy children are given boy chores like raking and lawn mowing and snow shoveling and offered money or allowance for their efforts. When women enter the workforce, we already have a deeply ingrained sense that the work we do is worth less.
Let's stop making it worthless, and wake up. Get conscious. And leverage that kind of self-leadership with our workplace leadership.