Can women be truly powerful?
Yes, we can yield power. And yes, there is power within us. Yet we are limited – and we limit ourselves – in how we express it.
Is that then really having power?
There’s been much said and written about succeeding as a woman in a male-dominated world, but so much of it seems contradictory.
On the one hand, we’re told to speak up, to take up space, to choose ourselves first for once, to own our strength and our power. On the other hand, research shows time and again that women who follow that advice are viewed – and then treated – negatively.
We’re told to be bold only to be punished by men and WOMEN for demonstrating that boldness.
I believe in speaking up. On any given day, being heard, engaging in dialogue, owning your needs and beliefs is often the most powerful action you can take. I also believe there is no one-right-way to speak-up; that you have to do so using a voice that is natural to you. Anything less and you risks distorting your message, editing yourself, and being inauthentic.
When I speak, and speak up, what naturally comes to me is a mix of humor, psychology, and frankness. I have heard many other women do the same using a far softer and stereotypically feminine tone and word choice. Others yet speak up in a voice that is more emphatic, direct and unyielding. Each one of us has something of value to contribute, and though we all benefit from adjusting our tone and message to our audience, we should not feel compelled to adopt a style other than our own. We should not feel like we have to censor or completely edit ourselves in order to be heard and acknowledged as worthy.
Whatever style comes naturally to you when speaking up, use it. We need to stop punishing each other for being assertive and stepping into our power. We need to educate men about the biases that make it hard for them to hear our words without dismissing the messenger.
We need to educate each other, ladies, to realize that we too enact these same biases, and in some ways, this is a betrayal to our stated desire to be viewed and treated as equals.
And when I say we I mean you reading this today, me, and every girl and woman out there. It’s time to raise your unique voice and speak up with the words and the tone that becomes you. Be your truth and then be a champion for someone else’s truth.
That is having power and using it for good. That is how we will eventually bridge this gap, come together, and evolve.
P.S: Love this article from the team at The Cut about how there’s no earthly reason that in 2018 women shouldn’t be as powerful as men. Check out, “Powerful Women Talk About Power (And Powerlessness)” here!