Women in business part 2: Real women, real challenges, real engagement
Women in business can sometimes feel that the struggles and challenges they face aren’t understood or heard. It can be really valuable to hear from other women in business who have also faced those challenge and are willing to engage on the topics and having frank conversations. Sometimes shared experience or understanding can help provide women with the space to think through the work place and how to navigate their careers or influence the careers of the women around them.
Inspiration, engagement and discussions around pertinent and relevant business challenges for women can’t be found or solved with nice Pinterest quotes on success and personal goals. It comes from openness, honest discussion and daring to talk about these things, think through them as a business, discuss them with colleagues and internalise them as an individual.
We’ve provided 3 TedTalks below from women in business who understand the struggles, have felt the frustrations and experienced the hurdles women face in business. They share real stories of the things that have shaped the way they think about themselves, the opportunities they have, and how they can uplift other women.
Here are some of the stories, the advice, and the discussions around women in business from across the globe.
Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, talks about women owning the right to be in leadership positions and being part of changing the numbers at the top that show that men in executive positions or roles of leadership are top heavy. She touches on 3 points that are worth considering as women think through how they can be part of the change.
- Sit at the table – no-one gets the promotion if they don’t think they deserve their success. Believe in yourself, own your own success and reach for opportunities.
- Make your partner a real partner – as a society we put more pressure on boys to achieve than on girls. We need to make it as important a job to work inside the home, with family, if we are going to even things out and help women stay in the workforce if that is what they want.
- Don’t leave before you leave – Don’t make decisions too far in advance. Women start thinking of things like family and what that will mean for their future careers long before they are actually at that point. This can often cause them to start to lean back and stop taking opportunities or promotions because they don’t keep their foot on the gas pedal until the very day they need to leave.
Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon discusses real stories of women she’s met that are running all types of firms — from home businesses to major factories – and are overlooked as key to economic development. She talks about how we need to unleash their success and acknowledge the economic potential that can have.
When we talk about men who are succeeding, we rightly consider them icons or pioneers or innovators to be emulated. And when we talk about women, they are either exceptions to be dismissed or aberrations to be ignored. But there is no society anywhere in the world that is not changed except by its most exceptional. So why wouldn’t we celebrate and elevate these change makers and job creators rather than overlook them?
Kirsten Hall also touches on the point that women are celebrated for being women and being in finance, not because of capabilities or smarts but because they are women. The existence of women in business is acknowledged as something that is different but not necessarily accepted. How do we make it a non-issue? We shift the focus from gender to skills and performance.