International Women’s Day is not just a day for women, nor should it be. We need all genders rallying together to support one another, and for that enthusiasm to continue well beyond one day in March. This is the only way that we will drive true change and Press for Progress as this year’s International Women's Day theme demands.
Work-life balance. That ever-elusive goal we are all working towards achieving. We hear all the time at our women’s initiatives workshops how this obsessive pursuit can be exhausting, frustrating and alienating. What we at Gild have come to realize is this: We are not alone. Successful women in workplaces everywhere struggle to find the right balance. We have to ask ourselves, does it even exist?
The Communicating Effectively workshop we developed in conjunction with the General Cable team invited both male and female employees to attend and discuss the differences in perceived vs. actual gender-based communication styles.
I had the opportunity to hear Mahzarin Banaji speak last year at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and it was one of the most eye-opening talks I have heard to date. The concept of unconscious or implicit bias is what Mahzarin and her research partner, Anthony Greenwald, have been researching for decades and they have distilled it into a surprisingly easy-to-consume book.
If we acknowledge the fact that it will take 217 years to reach gender parity, we know that one day of commemoration won’t expedite the process—but International Women’s Day is more than just one day. It is a moment to look back at the progress we have made and be proud of that, then it is time to get to work.
Most managers, executives, and organizations agree that gender diversity is a great idea, but not all will follow through and take the steps that are necessary to improve gender parity. Here at Gild, we believe that diversity, and more specifically gender diversity, matters and we have first hand experienced the power of women in the workplace.
International Women’s Day is a global day to celebrate the achievements of women and to continue making the call for gender parity.
Let’s break that down.
We all know the stereotype: Successful leaders are rational, assertive, linear and in complete control of their emotions. But who said empathy wasn’t a necessary skill to be successful?
We are obviously huge fans of Wonder Woman here at Gild. In Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of the Film, Patty Jenkins reflected on the greatest superpower of all: "...to be strong enough to love in the face of darkness is the thing that sets Wonder Woman apart from so many before her.” Empathy was Wonder Woman’s greatest superpower.
Working in the field of productivity and organization, I encounter and counsel women every week who are overwhelmed, stretched thin, and desperately seeking the elusive “work-life balance.” In all my conversations with friends, colleagues, mentors and professional women over the past 10 years, I have yet to find anyone who feels they have achieved the perfect balance.
Many women no longer work traditional hours in traditional office settings. Therefore, setting the expectation to fully take off your professional hat at the end of the day, and put on your personal hat, and to spend equal time in both areas, is not realistic. In fact, I no longer talk about work-life balance; instead, I encourage women to seek work-life integration.
We’ve all heard the saying, “in this world, you’re either growing or you’re dying,” and while personal development comes naturally to some, for others it’s uncomfortable. Or, maybe we just struggle to make time for ourselves. Whatever the reason, here at Gild, we want to empower women to lead life with greater confidence and passion. Here are 10 ways you can stimulate personal growth.