March the 8th is here again. International Women’s Day – the stake in the ground and the platform to highlight and celebrate all the incredible, empowering stories of women around the world making a difference and looking to address the still very present and very real imbalance that exists. Reading the stories online and hearing them on the radio sends shivers through my body of pride in our sisters and their courage and conviction, and it motivates me to do my bit.
But what is that? What the hell can I do?
I am a solopreneur and mum of two boys. How can I make my ripple on this global stage? I wonder how many others feel somewhat detached from those incredible stories and speeches from our homes or workplace – where the same routine comes and goes no matter what #day it is? The kids still need our attention, work still demands our time, the washing still sits in a pile in the corner, and you are lucky if there is enough food in the fridge for dinner.
Well I believe there is stuff we can be doing which is just as impactful in its ripple as all the other mind-blowing examples of movement around the globe.
It begins with ourselves…
As women wanting #balanceforbetter now, and in the future for the next generations, we need to begin to choose carefully and own fully the language that we use when talking about ourselves. In my work and in everyday life I very often hear language that we would not dream of using about our friends or children, readily and frequently passionately directed at our own self-worth. If we are unable to recognise and articulate our value, then how can we imagine anyone looking in to value us any more than we do ourselves? Many of us continue to hold our tongue, our opinion, as though it adds no value or assuming no one wants to hear it. Do you hear or see your male counterparts doing the same? When we speak down to ourselves we are unconsciously inviting others to do the same. If we continue to wait for permission to speak, to sing, to be heard, or until a time we feel more confident to – how long will we wait, and what if we are never asked…?
There are studies showing men often over value their strengths when women under value them, and that men have consistently higher self-esteem than women. That by the age of six, girls are less likely to perceive themselves as leaders than the boys they are playing with.
So yes, as I see it we have the collective responsibility in our homes, schools and workplace to own our story, choose our language carefully and reduce the confidence and self-belief gap that is still present. We are each a collective of our past, the generations of women who have gone before us and made huge change but were living under very different conditions. Today we are a powerful collective, a collaborative community, empowering others within our tribes. I truly believe we are ALL able to be part of the conversation, to create a new story moving forwards, towards reducing the gender gap that still remains.
By becoming more aware of our own language we can begin to make an impact on others. Perhaps today it is the day to start… perhaps today over lunch with your colleagues you can find the courage to begin a conversation about what #balanceforbetter means to you and your colleagues of all genders. At the dinner table with your partner, with your kids. This is not just a conversation for women. Far far from it! Take it to the pub, let your sisters stand with you and empower them to feel their voice rising within their body.
Perhaps today we stop being silent… silence is a power, it often keeps us safe, away from judgement, away from criticism. But when does silence turn on its owner and keep them trapped, unseen and unheard?
We need to offer our colleagues, partners and children the invitation to explore this with us. We need our men and our fellow sisters to be our champions, partnering in unity and collaboration. Not in competition but willingly pulling on each other’s strengths in harmony with our environment. In balance for better.
There are many women-only events happening all over the place today. I encourage you to take the baton and bring this conversation alive in ALL walks of life. Invite the opinion of our men, our mothers, our leaders and our children…LISTEN with all your body and then offer yours.
We are the collective change, this is not all about bold statements and speeches, however they have a huge purpose. This is about showing our children today and tomorrow how we value ourselves, offering all genders the permission to value themselves too. With these small daily actions, shifts in beliefs and transparency in life and all that it throws at us, we can make huge change towards #balanceforbetter.