Balance for Better
This International Women’s Day, we asked our Abel team what the day symbolises to them:
Every morning in the train on my way to our office I read the news on my phone, and occasionally an article pops up about a car or tech company naming their first female CEO. Of course I love seeing more women in leading positions, but I can’t help but think about the strange fact that this is considered to be surprising news – as if we’re all astounded that women are capable of taking on these jobs as well.
Positively, this is all a step in the right direction – part of a battle women have been fighting for decades of suppression to gain “equal” status. To me, a 20-year-old intern at a company run by a tiny but mighty team of women, this day serves as a way of empowerment of all women, no matter their age, nationality, or religion. I admire women who actively start initiatives that help other girls reach their potential who might’ve otherwise not had the opportunity. I truly believe that this is the way forward to make the current “news” of female CEO’s, leading scientists, artists, bartenders, presidents – you name it – the norm.
Everyday should be International Woman’s Day. Or actually… in an ideal world, International Women’s day is redundant. Equality needs to be rooted in our society, in our systems. Looking at people not based on their gender, but to see every person like a human being with both masculine and feminine energy, which are both equally important. But because we are not there yet, International Woman’s day is for me, a day that celebrates Women – all women and their choices on how they would like to live their lives. With equal opportunities. Without judgement.
To me, the International Women’s day serves a reminder that we still have a long way to go, and that we need to learn a lot about ourselves if we are ever going to get “there”. Unfortunately it’s not as easy as getting those who identify as male on our “side”, but women have to get on their own side as well. The tendency to treat women less favourably comes just as often from within our own midst, and it’s most often subconscious behavior. Research shows that we tend to make fairer judgements when we are aware of our biases, and, in addition, the (sometimes strange) tendencies we have make for great conversation, and suddenly the amount of people who will be aware of the matter at hand has multiplied.
Lastly, I hope to see more women raising the bar of their aspirations. Compared to men, I believe we make ourselves smaller and value ourselves less, and it doesn’t serve our potential.
I want to see traditionally feminine traits being celebrated, instead of seen as weaknesses. Vulnerability, empathy and collaboration hold little value in a society where traditionally masculine traits of confidence, independence and courage are king. We need balanced leadership, where decisions are driven by both courage and patience, confidence and awareness. We need women in the decision making teams to ensure that happens, and we need to help them get there.
At a practical level, today is a reminder to encourage every women I know to believe in, and prioritise themselves, and their mission. Ambition is not a dirty word. Just as importantly, it’s a reminder to encourage every man I know to take those women’s missions seriously.