Recently I was contacted by an executive head-hunting agency, for a lucrative position that had come up at a large, successful corporate. It was for a chief enterprise architect, reporting directly to the group CIO. The salary blew me away, far beyond my expectations, and I immediately felt lucky that this opportunity landed in my inbox. So, I agreed to the initial virtual coffee session with the headhunter, which preceded the official interview. A very well spoken, presentable and professional lady. She told me everything that I wanted to hear, that they needed a female candidate with the right qualifications, over 15 years of IT experience, across domains, with management and implementation experience, everything that I had. She also explained that I would be the only female in the team of very strong male candidates who come from strong technical backgrounds, and have very strong characters, and therefore, as a woman, I would need to “act accordingly”.
Empowered women empower women
Needless to say, I very politely declined to proceed. It is difficult to put into words the sentiment that I immediately felt. It was a combination of confusion, fury, and shock. After all, these words came from another woman. And the sad reality hit me, that even with all the transformation that has occurred globally regarding females in the workplace, a lot of women have been conditioned to believe that they do not have a seat at the table, even when they are given one. It is a direct result of social conditioning that has happened throughout history, but it shouldn’t be that way. Women should not be fostering that behaviour, just to keep a seat at the table. As beautiful Beyonce said, “Build your own stage”. If you are not being offered a seat, build your own table. And your own chair. Then teach other women to build tables. With seats in different shapes, sizes, heights, and colours, because every woman has her own style.
Somewhere between the stone age and the first industrial revolution women were incorrectly portrayed as submissive, passive, and inferior. We are quite the opposite. We view life in different colours, and those colours are expressed by different moods on different days. And that’s okay, because we also like to keep it fresh. Imagine how boring the world would be with one consistent personality trait and mood per woman. Nobody wants to see little miss sunshine every single day, right? Some days a little buffy the vampire slayer switches things up real quick and produces results far faster than any meeting or “talk” could achieve. We have a softer, maternal side to us, which allows us to be deeply empathetic with humanity, coupled with the ability to rear and lead. We see things differently and express ourselves vibrantly.
We have reasoning on another level, thanks to our female intuition which is usually sharper than a 2-edged sword, and we’re never afraid to use it. At times it may confuse the living daylights out of anyone, but a different perspective is always healthy. And anyone who dares to challenge that has the brawn of Hercules, because we are also able to produce 100 different types of algorithms and scientifically proven reasons as to why we are right. And we usually are. Oh, and we can code while cooking and talking to our BFF on the phone all at the same time.
These are just some of our superpowers. And there are many more, that makes us feminine, that make us women. And it should be encouraged, celebrated, admired, appreciated, and loved. More so by other women.
So ladies, don’t dim your shine. Own your journey. You are a woman, act accordingly!