Business of Men

Do women still have something to prove?

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Since women won the right to vote, we have come a long way in proving how they are independent, smart—and not just pretty things to look at. We should be well past the stage of having to prove anything.

These days there are many examples of women sharing their stories and journeys to success in the hopes of inspiring others. But also shedding light on issues of inequality in the workplace—particularly towards women— that have reared their ugly head.

And along with those stories, readers have many “oh, you too” moments, helping them realise they are not alone.

But the question all those examples make us ask is: do women STILL have to prove themselves? Certainly through statistics and many real world workplace experiences, it seems the answer is yes.

Especially since women still earn less in their weekly full-time income than men (for the same jobs) and hold less than a third of all leadership roles.

There are also many stereotypes and cultural norms regarding women in the workplace that may justify why women at least feel as though they have to prove themselves more, why they are often treated poorly in the workplace, and are paid less than male counterparts in the same position.

Some of these stereotypes include: employers thinking they will leave or become distracted at work for family reasons, they are less equipped and experienced then men in the workplace or to gain promotions, and so on.

But there has been progress when it comes to women climbing the leadership ladder.

And when it comes to, what may be considered “women’s issues”, the voices we hear the loudest are those of celebrities, who are able to shed light on issues and topics they have experienced or are passionate about that may not get much attention—if any.

An excellent example of this was when transgender actress Laverne Cox was interviewed at the 2016 Forbes Women’s Summit in New York.

During the summit, Cox discussed the difficulties she has faced in being a black, transgender women and gaining her success in acting.

But regardless of her celebrity status and however specific her story may be to the reasons above, her point about being a woman and feeling as though she had to prove herself is one that any career woman can relate to.

Cox also noted that part of what motivates her is owning her story, saying, “I fully embraced and accepted being trans and stopped looking at it as a deficit and started looking at it as something that made me special and unique….”.

She also explained where her drive to make the greatest change comes from and why she feels she is here: “Passion is always important. When you’re passionate about something and speak from that place, that’s the best place to start. It’s authentic and you believe in what you’re saying”.

And, “…I believe in a power greater than myself and that I was put here on this planet for something bigger than me. So when I can align with that, it becomes a driving force”.

So yes, it seems we still have to prove ourselves. But how to we change that?

You could certainly think that, by 2016, there would be gender equality if it weren’t for those pesky stereotypes about women wanting a career, family, and equal pay.

But perhaps the way to change this is by challenging and changing the attitudes of individuals, society as a whole, and getting rid of stereotypes and cultural norms to show how valuable women are in the workforce.

But with that being said,it is easier said then done.

Cox’s story shows she has broken down some of the barriers and dispelled— at least some of —the stereotypes about people.

Even if she does shy away from being a role model, she provides hope for women to do the same. The more of us who break down barriers and dispel stereotypes, the easier it is for future generations of women and young girls going forward— no matter what they do for a living.

This list includes the: Comedians Melissa McCarthy, Joan Rivers, and Tina Fey, former Australian and British Prime Ministers Julia Guillard and Margaret Thatcher, and so on.

And it is through women like these, who strive, achieve their goals, and gain leadership positions, that attitudes can change and women will no longer feel they have to prove themselves in the workplace or anywhere else.

About Rowena Nagy

Rowena Nagy is a Journalist at The Business Woman Media. A graduate in Journalism, Media and Communications, she is passionate about in writing, travel journalism, video journalism and Public Relations.

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