Recently, we have been surrounded by much talk regarding women in the workforce. The conversations centered around, becoming a leader, not being categorized negatively by being strong, in-charge, and demanding respect. Some of these topics are very uncomfortable for us to discuss...very uncomfortable.
Why have conversations on women leaders, women supporting other women, and the perception of women in the workforce made us so uncomfortable? First off, we’d like to make it clear that we don't walk around complaining that we are women. In fact, we have often used being women to our advantage, as have many others. Who hasn't called into work once or twice and complained of 'women trouble' when really you just didn't feel like dealing with the day or had other obligations that took precedent but explaining those to a boss for a “personal day” is usually met with difficulty. We haven’t yet encountered a man who has been able to use that free pass, although we know plenty that suffer from PMS.
What has sent us reeling about this topic, is the emotion tied to it. If it hadn’t been for a recent experience, we may not have analyzed why 'we' women are always apologizing for our strengths and our accomplishments. Like, we should feel bad for being recognized for doing something amazing?
As women, we are nurturers and are consciously making sure others are comfortable, cared for, and feel at ease. This often translates into self-deprecation, insecurity, guilt, and resentment. We don't want to be seen as braggarts or proud, so we put ourselves down. Stop. Just stop it.
STOP APOLOGIZING for your accomplishments.
Stand up straight, look a person in the eye and say "thank you."
You see, we actually have the advantage. As women, we are the first to acknowledge our weaknesses and work to correct them. We work harder because we have set incredibly high expectations for ourselves that we can only hope to achieve, likewise we have so many others depending on us. We know that we are judged by our looks, brains, and work/life balance and we work to be stellar in all of these areas. That’s a lot to think about when you just want to be successful like anyone else.
The point is, when you achieve something that you know you worked long and hard at, shout it to the rooftops, take to social media, hold a party, open some champagne, and don’t ever apologize for it. Ever.
We work hard, and deserve to be acknowledged for it. Own that space. It’s brief and fleeting, moreover, you will have to work very hard for the next moment like this to present itself.
Written by: Kim Bode and Adrienne Wallace