The One Question That Must Be Asked This Women’s History Month
If you’ve been following my blog, then you know that I am a fierce proponent of women’s rights and equality. I’ve used this platform to discuss the importance of women finding their voice (and men, to help recognize and promote women’s value). I’ve opened up conversations about why women must define leadership on their own terms, how women can advance to the C-suite and what the rising force of female millennial workers should know.
I believe we find strength in our history; therefore, I think Women’s History Month is a significant way to continue these important conversations. At the same time, however, I believe our message can easily become lost during this time if we allow it to. Hear me out…
This month, we reflect on the many milestones that have been achieved in women’s history. We acknowledge leaders like Margaret Fuller, Susan B. Anthony and Rosa Parks; women who, in their lifetime, forever changed the world. Just as importantly, this month serves as a reminder of the many barriers that have yet to be broken. Adversity has an ugly face with many eyes, and we’re still staring into most of them. Women’s History Month, however, cannot exist as the simple recognition of this fact. As the sacrifices of so many women throughout history have shown, change is the product of action.
But what kind of action should we be taking? In the spirit of this year’s theme, dare I be so bold as to say that women’s equality neither starts nor ends with protests, chants or riots (if you’ve been following the news lately, you likely know what I mean). Women’s equality should never mean the inconsequentiality of others’ rights. It should never mean bringing others down. It’s important that we acknowledge and respect the significant roles that we all play.
Rather, I believe the single most empowering thing we as women can do to fight for advancement and inclusivity is to be aware. We must always be cognizant of our circumstances and, just as importantly, our intentions. Together, these either positively or negatively shape our outcomes, both personal and professional. Our pursuits may be emotionally charged, but they must always be outcome driven. Otherwise, what exactly are we fighting for?
So, here’s the one question I want you to keep in mind every day and this month especially: what is your desired outcome? Yours may differ from mine, and that’s OK. In fact, it’s encouraged so long as we know what we’re asking for with our efforts, and understand that those efforts cannot be contained to just one month. We must be bold for change every day, be it in small steps or giant leaps.
If I can leave you with anything, let it be these powerful words from Madeleine Albright: “It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.” Neither will I, and neither should you. But remember, being bold and being bold for change are two distinctly different things. Remember what it is that you’re working towards, and fearlessly live in pursuit of that outcome. While we enjoy this month-long celebration of women, let us not forget the criticality of having a vision, understanding our desired outcome, and going after it with all we’ve got.
From lectures to panels to concerts, this month offers valuable opportunities that can help increase your awareness and define your desired outcome. Click here to view Women’s History Month events near you.