36 million people watched Patricia Arquette’s speech after winning the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the movie Boyhood.
As I watched her minute-or-so delivery, I was moved. Watch the snippet below if you haven’t already seen it.
“It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all, and equal rights for women in the United States of America,” she said, before the music ushered her out.
What she said was short and sweet, inspiring, but really just got me strolling in my thoughts on the subject of women’s rights, something I am a huge supporter of. I dream of a world with equal rights some day.
But today it still remains – across the world, women from different cultures and countries are dealing with some form of discrimination or another.
In some countries, women still have no rights to go to school for education, and they cannot choose the person they want to marry. Stand up for any rights or do anything else “wrong”, her life is at risk.
It reminds me how blessed some of us are for the freedom we have to choose our own careers, relationships, what we want to wear…
I started thinking about equal wage just like Patricia Arquette said and that got me thinking about equal opportunities in the workplace. I believe this is totally possible and one day achievable in a country like the United States (which of course would be a huge stepping stone for all of us), as we’ve already seen some extraordinary women succeed at this.
To make this a reality though, what we really need is for more women to stand behind this idea. But first – we must believe that this is indeed possible.
In order to be equal, we have to feel equal.
Yet, I feel the gap in our mindset still exists even if we’ve tasted more liberation than some women in other parts of the world – not all of us women see this equality in our future. Could this gap be keeping us from our end goal? If so, maybe then the biggest shift needs to start with us.
Let me explain how I came to this.
As I started thinking about the topic, I began browsing the Internet and I came across an article that stated: “A new Gallup poll finds that more women would prefer to work for a man than for another female.”
Reading that shocked me and also made me a little bit sad. According to the poll, 40% of women prefer a man in charge, compared to 27% who prefer a female boss.
So how can women rise to the top and prove that gender is not a determinant of competency when we ourselves don’t want to work under the leadership of our own kind?
I think this could have to do with our own personal beliefs and attitude. And we’re playing some part in sustaining the gap.
Then I had an A-ha moment.
I work in a company that has more women employees than men. We are all friends and our relationships are tight thanks to the company’s overall culture on employee happiness. We focus on support and making each other feel good. As a result of working in a happy environment where we felt like we had a good friend at work, we were more productive and effective as teams.
We worked together to achieve a goal. We knew tearing someone down or competing with them would only distract and slow us from the end goal. (Of course this doesn’t mean our days are perfect and our ride entirely smooth – we found a healthy way to deal with conflicts.)
But most companies are not like this. When there are many women working together, sometimes things start to happen. There are women competing with each other, taking certain things very personally…
We are also (whether we realize/admit it) perpetuating the stereotype of what it’s like to work with a woman boss – as soon as we have one, we cringe versus pledging support.
For some reason along the way, I think we lost the spirit of “the sisterhood”.
Ah, do you remember what that felt like? Think back to your “girl gang” school days – having our own little “tribe” made us feel empowered, like we could achieve anything if we were all in it together.
We also felt safe. We knew we had our sisters to help us if we strayed from our paths or felt so down all we wanted to do was cry (or wail).
But then, we became adults and our relationships with women changed. Especially in the workplace.
We see other women as competitors. A threat. But we shouldn’t. We should honor, stop competing and support each other. We shouldn’t feel powerless around another strong woman, instead we should unite and feel powerful – together.
I’d love to see the sisterhood transcend into companies. I’m sure some magic will happen. And if we want to be paid equal because we feel equal, then we must stand strong and united to see that true one day.
Additionally, we should also learn to step up more. Don’t hold back. Trust that you can do it. Anyone can climb the ladder – man or woman. If you have dreams, go get it. 🙂
Which brings me to close with a great video – it’s one of my favorites.
At TEDWomen in 2010, COO of Facebook Sheryl Sandberg made the bold decision to talk about the experience of being one of very few women at the C-level of business. She noted that many women, in anticipating having a family, “lean back” from leading at work. After her TED Talk took off, Sandberg wrote the book Lean In, which has spent nearly a year on the New York Times bestseller list.
Watched the inspiring video below – it has over 5 million views.
Do you have any thoughts to share? Comment below!