"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." --Eleanor Roosevelt
I read these words by Eleanor Roosevelt and immediately had that “aha” moment. Maybe real value is only placed on the people who demand it.
As women, that is sometimes hard for us to do. We are raised to believe that it is better not to “rock the boat”. However, continuing this line of thinking is doing a great disservice to us and to the young women who follow.
The trick is, how do we garner the personal and professional respect of others without sinking to the “bitch” label? I think we can accomplish this by believing in our own value and “helping ourselves”.
The truth of the matter is that male ambition and competitiveness is applauded. That “go get ‘em” attitude is praised. However, that same drive in women is often labeled as “bitchy” and “unattractive”, and not only by men, but by other women as well.
Women need to shatter that perception if we want to move forward, and I believe more and more women are doing just that! Like the amazing and successful women we are, we are seeing the value of “paying it forward” and being role models for the next generation of professional women.
For example, much has been in the news lately on the still present disparity in salaries between men and women holding the same job. What we need to understand is that we cannot expect others to solve this problem for us. We need to demand what we have earned by learning to be better negotiators and simply by expecting to be paid what we are worth.
Our goal should be to inspire women to become leaders in their chosen professions. We also need to encourage them to reach beyond their own success and help to effect positive change in our world.
And I think women are particularly able to promote that change. Women professionals bring natural qualities to the table that need to be celebrated. We are capable of strong collaboration, conviction, and purpose.
What are our strengths? I believe our greatest assets are:
- Our strong communication skills. Women know how to really listen to the thoughts of others as well as convey our own point of view. We can empathize even if we do not agree.
- Our desire to collaborate. Women appreciate the need to “work well together” and “get along”. We talk things out and “brainstorm” as a matter of course.
- Our ability to ask for help. Women know that asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness. We understand the need to delegate and if we are unsure of how to proceed, we will ask!
- Our “socially aware” point of view. Women feel a real need to address and “solve” social issues. We recognize inequality and strive for fairness. We believe in creating a better world, and are willing to put in the work to do so.
Now that we know our strengths, what do we need to do?
- · We Need to Stop Blaming Others – We need to recognize we can only be treated as we allow ourselves to be treated. We need to allow ourselves to demand the equal salaries and job opportunities we have earned.
- · We Need to Stop Using Excuses – We can no longer say what we can’t do because we don’t have the time, the power, or the support to do so. We need to grab hold of what we want and go “full steam ahead” to get it.
- We Need to Present a United Front – Women need to help women. We need to champion our own causes and build a strong professional and social network. It is not the time to be divisive.
We, as women, need to take the inspiring words of Eleanor Roosevelt to heart. The truth is, until we value ourselves, we cannot expect others to do so. It is truly time to “help ourselves”!