For those that know me (and quite possibly those that don’t know me) I have been identified as a strong woman nearly my entire career.
That sentence alone sounds great, depending upon who is reading it. Let me provide you some real life (mine) examples:
Co-worker: Oh no, not a strong woman; she is going to be so horrible to work with. Strong women are so *itchy!
My Mother: Why do you feel that you need a career, why don’t you stay at home with your kids like your sisters and I did?
My Father: You are a strong woman, you can do anything any man can do
Peers: I want you as part of my team, as you speak your mind; and are fearless
Peers: I don’t want you as part my team, because you speak your mind and are overbearing
Peers: The only reason she got her promotion is because she is our male managers “favorite”
Peers: Congrats on the promotion, it is so deserved!!
Manager: Here is a pay raise, as you are nearly $20k below your peers(footnote, all men)
Do you win, or do you lose with being a strong woman? It is all in the eye of the beholder.
Ok, I think you get the point. Do you win, or do you lose with being a strong woman, it is all in the eye of the beholder. I will forever take being called a name, or presumed that I got a reward in my career that wasn’t deserved in someone else’s eye, as long as I am proud of my self and what I did.
Also know, that I struggle when asked about speaking out for women only, or being on a panel of women, as I prefer not being drawn out as different. Ask me to be part of a group that supports people, and be comprised of whomever would like to participate, as the way that we grow and learn most is by seeing and hearing different viewpoints, not segregating.
The key is we are ALL people who can accomplish anything with the support of others. We are not in this world alone, and every step of our journey is an accomplishment no matter how positive, or negative; large, or small. I am proud to be a strong woman, I am proud to be *itchy, I am proud to be “favored”, I am proud to be “not the follower”, I am proud to be a “mother with a career”, I am proud to feel confident in “speaking my mind”, I am proud of being “fearless and fearful”…
I AM PROUD OF WHO I AM!
None of what I have done in my career has been easy, and certainly not always fun, but it is still MY journey as a strong human being. Today we celebrate women, I celebrate me, and all of the women no matter where you are in your journey; We Are Strong!