“Raise your glasses to the strongest, most intelligent, most capable, and most caring women I know. Your leadership in the office inspires while your leadership at home completes. For those of us fortunate enough to have garnered your affections, may we always acknowledge and appreciate your special gifts and succeed in loving you in the way you deserve.”
Much is written on the disadvantages facing women in the workplace. Every day, another article is written about women being under-represented on boards, as CEOs, as investors, as entrepreneurs, on panels, and in certain jobs; or about how they are underpaid when compared to their male counterparts in the same roles. Apparently, it is a significant problem. I guess I just don’t see it.
When I look around, I see powerful women finding their way in the world. Driven personalities who want it all, the career, the family, the adventure, and the sense of completeness that comes from juggling all of the above. I see highly paid female leaders making the decisions that drive movements across industries and economies at the same time as making sure their children have the best opportunities possible.
The women in my world don’t wait for things to happen, they make them happen. Work-Life balance? What is that? They don’t balance a life, they live it.
I see women getting what they want and choosing where to invest themselves and their money. I see powerful women, every day, in every conceivable role, and they are thriving.
When we post jobs, the majority of applicants are women. When we interview, the stronger candidates tend to be women. When I look around, I see women doing, leading, deciding, and generally making things happen. From executive leadership to production roles, I see powerful women driving progress.
Recently, my mother-in-law decided to build a house. At 80 years old and now widowed for ten years, she felt like she needed to shake things up. She bought some land and has been working with a builder to get the project going. Independent. Strong. Powerful.
Perhaps I’m missing something. Maybe there are forces pushing back on opportunities for women. Perhaps female professionals are not getting a fair shot at what some would call “equality.” Maybe I don’t know what equality really is. Equal opportunity? Equal access? Equal rights? If the playing field does disadvantage women, it doesn’t appear to be slowing the ones I know down very much.
For the young professionals finding their way, don’t give-in to the narrative. Spend your time and energy pursuing your dreams and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t have it all. A bad job, bad boss, or a “no” doesn’t reflect a conspiracy, it is just a sign to move forward toward something else on your own terms. If the path to your dreams is difficult, realize that it is overcoming those difficulties that will make achieving them worthwhile and don’t believe for a moment that you can’t.
For those powerful women in my life. Thank you. Thank you for sharing your gifts with the world. Thank you for chasing your dreams even when things were really tough. Thank you for making the rest of us better through your efforts and example.