Monday, October 19, 2015

Speaking up

"I'm over trying to find the 'adorable' way to state my opinion."

Jennifer Lawrence's open letter about being paid less than her male co-stars has been making the news and rounds of blogs for the last few days. It's not a new observation - not the paid less bit nor the how to say strong things in palatable ways.

Saying "no"... asking for more... negotiating change.. offering an unpopular view... these are not things for which anyone should be silenced. Diversity needs to be seen in word and deed, not just team assignments.

We often focus on why it's hard to speak up, how as women we hold ourselves back. All true. We also need a conversation around why the other side of the table won't listen, why control is tied to power and money and thus shuts down new ideas and challenges to status quo.

There's no one way through the quagmire but certainly the route that ends up back at the start line is the one where we say nothing.

Saying nothing is a bigger failure than speaking up and not being heard.

I recently tried to speak up myself and was told to be accepting and 'grateful' .  I am/was grateful... I was trying to negotiate before accepting. I'm still not sure if I did not speak up appropriately or was simply not taken at face value. Of course, I critique myself first. (My sponsors questioned if I actually spoke up and then I critiqued myself wondering if I had just rolled over as assumed. A slippery slope... I did speak up; was shut down and will find a new opportunity to re-open the conversation.)


Kristen Ridley said...

It will not surprise you to hear that I LOVED this post!!! I have spent a good part of my entire career listening to power tell me - when I speak truth to it - why I need to "be grateful" or "respect authority", in other words: "shut up, sit down and do what you're told".

Well, that's never been, nor is it likely to become who I am. I try to be respectful in all my interactions, no matter who I'm talking with, and the feedback I get from trusted people supports that I am. So I reject the idea that presenting another approach, or a differing opinion is somehow unacceptable. And if it is unacceptable in a particular environment, that is a clear indication that I am in the wrong environment and it's probably time to move on.

Thanks for the reminder!

Dennie Theodore said...

Finding our voice takes many forms... and I know you have inspired others to speak up Kristin!