What Difference Can YOU Make This International Women’s Day?

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. What will you do to mark the day? Perhaps you’ll attend an event with inspirational speakers? But what are you going to DO, to see the Gender Gap Gone?

When we support women, we support individuals. Quality, low-cost childcare options are good for families, for economies. Corporate policies that are attractive to women (merit-based promotions, encouragement of collaboration, more integrated work/life flow etc) are appealing to most employees. Collectively crafting a society intolerant of violence… everyone benefits.

Eloquent advocates of large-scale change are vocal this week particularly. Governments are lobbied, businesses in the spotlight. I want to talk to you about what YOU can do.

If you’re walking along a street and the only other person on the street ahead of you trips and falls, you’ll stop to check they’re ok. But if you walk along a busy street, someone falls and 3 or 4 people ahead of you stop to help? You’re probably going to keep walking.

It might be tempting this week to believe that with all the focus on the Gender Gap, your personal attention is not required. When it comes to diversity and in particular, seeing the Gender Gap Gone, if you’re prepared to let others deal with it, you’re likely adding to the problem – certainly as it exists for yourself and those who follow you / aspire to be like you.

Remember Lieutenant General David Morison’s now iconic line,

The standard you walk past is the standard you accept

Well my question for you this week is what are you accepting in your own life and what will you do differently? Okay, so that’s two questions!

To take action you can tackle the gap for others or you can start, possibly more powerfully with yourself. For your sake and for those around you. Let me share a few tangible ideas.

Take External Action to see the Gender Gap Gone

  • Sponsor a young girl in poverty, to provide safety and education
  • Donate new or nearly new business clothes to Dress For Success
  • Support a women’s shelter financially
  • Advocate for the women around you. If their voices are drowned out in meetings, ask their opinion on the important issues.
  • Look to the individuals in your team. Understand what makes them tick. Engage them individually, not en-masse in a style that suits how you would like to be managed.

Take Internal Action to see the Gender Gap Gone

Here is where the real magic happens. We can make changes to policy and changes to available opportunities, but unless individual women believe they want and can have more, our progress will be limited.

You know the story of the baby elephant that was tied to a rope, held to the ground with a wooden peg? He had about a 3m diameter to move in. The baby elephant didn’t have the strength to pull the peg from the ground, so he learned that the 3m diameter was all the space he had, despite the field around him. Over time that elephant grew. He could easily have pulled the peg from the ground, but he never did. He didn’t think he could so he didn’t try.

Ladies, don’t be like the baby elephant. Know that you CAN pull that peg from the ground. When we look at senior leadership roles in business, government, sport etc there are many more men that women. But there ARE women. It CAN be done. There are tools available to help you discover where you want to go and support you if you choose to Lead Bravely.

Indeed, a number of our resources and events are free – much the same as many leadership and career specialist organisations.

Even without that support, what can you do, right now, to see the Gender Gap Gone for yourself?

If you only do ONE THING, try this:

It may feel unnatural, but CELEBRATE YOU. It will boost your confidence, it will inspire you to stretch more and maybe boost your profile or ask for a pay rise. I have seen this one little act make such a big difference literally thousands of times. (And I do mean literally, not the just-for-emphasis use of literally!)

If I’m asking you to get uncomfortable though, I’m going to do the same.

Ok, so I may quietly have an internal replay stuck on a loop with Will Farrell in Old School, running naked and alone through the streets beaming “Come on honey, we’re all doing it”

If that’s the outcome, I’m good with that too.

You might join me publicly (use the #CelebrateMe and tag @GGapGone on Twitter or @GenderGapGone on Instagram or Facebook)

OR

You might just have a quiet word to yourself, writing a note somewhere that will be prominent just for you.

Whichever approach you take, please take a moment to #CelebrateMe

You get that I mean celebrate yourself, not me, right!!

However, when you’re contemplating whether to celebrate with me via social media, or privately, please consider this.

As long as there are few photos of women in annual reports and on reception area walls, celebrating success; as long as there are few female voices raised with messages of “I did it, my family and my values are in tact, you can do this too if you choose”… then women will feel like a minority. We’re not.

When you’re considering your actions to support International Women’s Day 2016, I urge you to be vocal.

Raise your voice in support of women. The women you admire and the woman you are. Can’t think of anything to say? Try this:

I am kind.

I am capable.

I am powerful.

I GOT THIS!!!!

Or

You are capable.

I have huge respect for you.

I admire your work.

You GOT THIS!!!

Since I won’t ask you to do something I won’t do, here’s my post from Instagram, Facebook at Twitter moments ago:

I am fierce & I am kind.

Whatever action you take this International Women’s Day, do it for yourself, for the people we love, for our communities and the sustainability of our economies and way of life. There are benefits for everyone.

Ladies, raise your voice. Allow me and others to celebrate you too.

Cath Nolan

 

An executive coach and MD here at Gender Gap Gone, Cath is renowned for her expertise in individual and organisational development. With over 16 years experience consulting to over 500 businesses globally, Cath has coached over 300 individuals and worked with some of Australia’s best loved and most recognised brands.

Cath is a frequent key note speaker nationally, invited to share the stage with leaders of industry on Leadership and Career Advantage, particularly for women and diversity groups.

Want to hear more strategies for good leadership, diversity and career leverage? Subscribe HERE for the latest on our programs, free resources and articles.

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A Kind of Naked…

Hey I’m Cath,

I’m the founder here at Gender Gap Gone. For International Women’s Day I’m going to do something that I hope you’ll join me in.

We’re not experts in ending domestic violence or providing equal access to education or quality health for women and children at risk… but we CAN HELP with the Gender Pay Gap. See I KNOW as true as I’m alive that you have the power to make a change in your life.  I want to get you started.

Everyone faces barriers at some point… and some push through to achieve what they want. Or something better than that. You can too.

You HAVE the power to do this, you can make your career exactly what you want it to be. You CAN have a job that’s perfect for you, that nourishes you; you can be paid well if you choose… The how is clear and well- tested. You just need to follow the steps.

One of the first steps is to feel good about you. Take stock of what you’ve done that you’re proud of. It doesn’t come naturally, does it? Not for me either.

I can happily take stock of all that I’m grateful for, but what I’m proud of is much harder. But since I know how liberating self-awareness and bravery are, I’m going to take this very simple step.

CelebrateMe

This isn’t as bold as Nigel Marsh’s communal, nude Sydney Skinny Ocean Swim. For some of us, it may be tougher.

I may stand alone in this. I may be judged as being full of myself. But I hope I’m not. I hope that some of you will join me so you can feel the benefit. Add your voices. Share what’s great about you.

Since I know the positive impact it’s going to have, I’m authorising an incentive, from Gender Gap Gone, to encourage you. We’re going to select a #CelebrateMe post from among our Insta/Facebook / Twitter followers to receive a 12 Month Career Empowerment Membership, RRP$276

A few years ago I heard a Makeup Artist speaking about skincare. Speaking on the perils of skimping on self-care, she said “no matter what you think about your skin right now, in 5 years you’ll wish you had exactly what you’ve got right now – take care of it!”

The same can probably be said of lots of things (I wish I was the size I was when I first thought I should lose weight)… but when it comes to our careers, at all levels women particularly are inclined to say “Oh I haven’t done that”, rather than affirming “I’ve done this” of the capabilities they do have.

Gentlemen if there’s a woman who’s work you respect, whose ethic and character you admire, perhaps you’ll join in too. Let them know. Better yet, let it BE KNOWN. Advocate for them in the boardrooms and among people of influence within your organisation.

Speak of their leadership abilities and contribution.

I’ll post my #CelebrateMe on Monday, ahead of International Women’s Day on the 8th March. Not just to GGG’s informal social media outlets, but even to the conservative LinkedIn. Can you feel how deep I’m digging? My need to psych myself up?

JoinMe

It’s still a few days away. That gives us all some time to think deeply about what we can say about ourselves 🙂 Or the women we respect.

 

Want to see the action? Connect with us on Twitter / Facebook / Instagram. Sure I may end up standing alone… but I’ll risk it. The potential benefits are worth it. For all of us.

#IWD2016 #CelebrateMe #Inspiration

Cath Nolan

An executive coach and MD here at Gender Gap Gone, Cath is renowned for her expertise in individual and organisational development. With over 16 years experience consulting to over 500 businesses globally, Cath has coached over 300 individuals and worked with some of Australia’s best loved and most recognised brands.

Cath is a frequent key note speaker nationally, invited to share the stage with leaders of industry on Leadership and Career Advantage, particularly for women and diversity groups.

Want to hear more strategies for good leadership, diversity and career leverage? Subscribe HERE for the latest on our programs, free resources and articles.