Updated: Nov 9, 2021
I was enraged late last week when I read an article in Women’s Agenda about how the Morrison government have watered down the National Plan to tackle women’s economic security. If you can even call it that.
This is such a clear example of the dismissive behaviour that still exists amongst the leadership ranks in some of the largest and oldest institutions our social structure is built on. These hierarchical, patriarchal, institutions that are built on the premise of women being “lesser than”. This insidious outdated cultural belief that permeates through the air, that exists in every crack and flows though the walls of these institutions.
These institutions that have no interest and can see no benefit to itself to include others.
To be open to different ideas or ways of doing things.
To put the collective good over self-interest; and
Who dismiss the value of diverse views and ideas - especially those presented by women.
Pale, male and stale is a term I hear often.
While I could make the simple statement that women make up half the population or sprout the facts about how diversity brings about better outcomes for everyone, we already know that and yet DESPITE that knowledge this dismissive culture continues.
So instead of raging I’m going to celebrate.
I’m going to call out the women who tirelessly turn up each and every day, who deal with this bull sh*t on the regular. Women who continue to do what they can to instigate change. Both those who are in the spotlight advocating, reporting, and agitating publicly as well as those doing similar things behind closed doors. The women who courageously call out bad behaviour, refuse to be part of the boy’s club just to fit in and put themselves and their careers at risk just by doing so.
I know these women well because I was one of them. I would spend the 50 minutes it took me to drive to work reminding myself that I was not going to be consumed by the culture of the agency I was working in. That instead I actively chose to live and work according to my values. That I would not fold to the pressure to conform when, as a Ieader I felt that our roles of custodians of a public institution was being compromised.
So, this post is to celebrate those women who aren’t seen but who turn up and do what they can each and every day. Those women who choose not to become part of the fold because doing that means compromising who they are and the values they hold. It’s to those brave women who turn up every day navigating the balance between having a seat on the table, and therefore an opportunity to influence.
It's a fine line these women walk. A pecarious line between being a change-maker while not losing themselves to the cultural norms, becoming a part of that that which they are trying to dismantle.
They are the women doing the heavy lifting. Risking themselves, their reputation, and their careers. Doing this with the hope that just maybe someone watching will shift their views ever so slightly. That just maybe someone will admire their bravery and make the commitment to do the same when they can. Or just maybe someone will be inspired and return to their team and encourage a little more compassion and less competition.
I see you. I thank you. I applaud you.
PS: if this resonates with you then checkout my leadership course for women being run again early next year. It's for those who are ready to take the next step and build their leadership legacy from the inside out. Go on the waitlist and join my community to stay update to with new leadership ideas and commentary every week.