Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Women in Leadership - who gets to join?

After a few hot debates last month on what is/is not a WIL issue, a few things were clear:

  • Not everyone understands why WIL conversations & actions are even necessary
  • No one agrees on the issues and root causes
  • Some women remain embarrassed by any WIL association with their career

That's all okay. Really. If we all agreed, it would be consensus and we know consensus is not always the way to work things through.

Given the proliferation of diversity discussions happening, there has been a similar growth in smaller "specialty" groups to drive more specific agendas. Shining bright lights in dark places should always be applauded! Each issue women face around the world has its own campaigns, support networks, etc; but sometimes this makes it harder for women in differing groups to support each other.

Questions I heard in August:

  • Is discrimination faced by lesbians a WIL issue?
  • If the majority of elder care is done by women, but men are involved, does it make it not a women's issue?
  • If, as a woman, I've never dealt with bad career options due to my gender - does that mean I still need to speak up for other women?
  • How much of WIL is whining?
  • How much of WIL is just good old career questions with people looking for a shortcut?
  • Why are female role models important? Why not gender-neutral?
  • How can WIL encompass sexual harassment and mentoring in the same umbrella?

I feel passionately about some of these questions. However, it's not the answers that are important as much as we continue the dialogue. Ethics and morals are personal ... but open dialogue helps some of the darker choices lose their power.

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