I love being a woman, always have. Maybe in part because I was for sure a tomboy. I grew up riding my BMX and begging my parents for a remote control car, for I don’t know how many years. A car I eventually got and adored like a doll taking it everywhere with me, for YEARS.
Even when I reached puberty (ridiculously early) I never longed for clothes or wore make-up. So it is probably no surprise that when I got to University and formed a bond with 6 other (then) girls, who I am proud to say are some of the best friends I have 20 years later (one even officiated my wedding) was a late start to my exploration of who I was as a female. So my outlook is heavily defined by two parents who allowed me to love what I loved and be who I was. And who didn’t bring me up to a stereotype or to the constraints of the idea of a woman.
Even as I navigated my early career, I can honestly say, I had female bosses, up to the top of the company & despite myself never saw any inequality in my natural being as a woman.
It was only later, in a job where a colleague claimed discrimination, that I had to take a look at my own thoughts about the situation. How dismissive I had been of similar circumstances and how sexist both the profession and industry I worked in were. Overnight, almost, I became confident of my stance as a feminist.
(noun) The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
Key changes for me included:
Owning my femininity
To me this means embracing the qualities that make me a good leader; inclusivity, caring, thinking for the group, organising, planning.
Cutting down conversations about when I was going to have children
Answer; Never, my choice. It’s funny how many times I flatly told people I have chosen not to have children and their response was ‘You’ll change your mind’. I haven’t, but I accepted that response for ease. Well, actually it’s rude. It’s rude to ask, to assume, to judge, to consider this is a woman’s one & only life-affirming goal.
I get it, BIOLOGICALLY speaking, but for the record:
It’s OK if you don’t want to be a mother, or not yet.
It’s OK to not know or have other dreams you want to pursue right now.
& To those of you, who have circumstances outside your control harshly decide your fate – you have the right to be angered by such ‘expectations’.
Whatever your circumstances, your fate, your choice, is yours … Everyone else’s? None of your business.
Puffing my chest up proudly as a woman
For all the ways I am, who I am, my gender an irrelevance; “In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different” Coco Channel.
I don’t want to be defined by other’s expectations, I haven’t been assigned a role. Instead, I consider what’s important to me and how do I want to show up?
Some days I sit in a boardroom of men and I tell them straight that they’re wrong and some days I walk barefoot on the grass in jean shorts.
Some days I adorn my lashes with mascara and proudly flaunt them and some days I don’t even bother to brush my hair.
However you were brought up, however closely or far away you’ve lived from the ‘stereotype’ held up to us as women, I know this for sure. You are luckier than ever to be a woman right now.
From Greta to Oprah, to Jacinda to Lizzo … Age, nationality, race and place in society has never been less relevant to who you can be & what you can achieve, being a woman.
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