In order to get specific about goal setting, we must look realistically at our plans and evaluate what we are willing to – or in some cases, excited to – give up in order to achieve our goals. We must firmly say “no” to many things in order to have maximum focus on what we want to say “yes” to.
On March 8, 2019 people all around the world will celebrate International Women’s Day and its 2019 theme: #BalanceforBetter. At it’s core, International Women’s Day (IWD) is a celebration of women– where we have been and what we have achieved socially, economically, politically, and culturally. However, in addition to celebrating how far we have come, IWD also calls us to look at how far we have yet to go on the path to gender parity, and what actions must we all take as individuals to increase the pace of progress?
There it is again, that word—feminist. In Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s 2012 TEDx talk, adapted to a published essay in 2014, she relays her early justifications of the term. “At one point, I was a happy African feminist who does not hate men and likes lip gloss and who wears high heels for herself and not for men,” she says. “That word is so heavy with baggage—negative baggage.”
There are a million different brands of feminists. There are a million different ways to express your beliefs, structure your family, pursue your career, or put your pants on as a feminist. And guess what? Each of us is still a feminist.
In October, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. I won’t lie to you and tell you that I was doing daily meditations on the mountain and having an Eat, Pray, Love experience. It was, however, one of the most fun, exciting, and challenging experiences of my life. While I did a lot of physical training, I think the most useful training came in the form of another fun, exciting, and challenging experience—starting Gild Collective.
We were invited to deliver an initial foundational overview of unconscious bias and bias interrupters that can be used within the department to continue driving gender equity and representation forward. With this understanding, we will return in July to do a follow up applied learning session. Not only can we see how interrupters have impacted the department over the past 7 months, but we can also implement new tools for greater impact.
According to a study published on PayScale, the legal industry has one of the highest wage gaps not influenced by education or experience, as high as 38.6 percent. While this gap is outrageous at first glance and may appear to never close, there are some noticeable caveats to that statistic. First, while there are more women working in legal professions than men (at 68 percent), men dominate the higher-paying and higher-ranking legal jobs. This statistic also includes legal support workers, paralegals, and secretaries, which slightly skew the statistics because these lower-status jobs are more likely to be filled by women.
“No.” is a full sentence.
That was the inspiration for this workshop, focused around recognizing the importance of each participants’ goals and working to give self-permission to prioritize those things. We took it one step further to dig into communication techniques that make it more comfortable to do something that feels so unnatural for many—saying no.
In November 2018 we had the opportunity to partner with ERS’ Young Professionals group to present a Building and Communicating Confidence workshop to kick off their offsite. We assisted the participants in articulating their strengths into their “30 second commercial” that will help them communicate their contributions with people in positions of influence. Then, we worked with participants to develop and practice personal and professional assertive communication strategies that can be used in various workplace situations, increasing their confidence in daily interactions with colleagues and supervisors.
Thanksgiving is an odd time of year, as in many ways it marks “the beginning of the end”. The end of the year, that is. It is a reminder to all of us to begin our processes of looking back on our year as it comes to a close, and to think of what we are most grateful for.