In one of the sessions of a women’s leadership course at work, we were talking about our reactions on a training video that encouraged women to speak up. Some people were glad to be reminded, remembering how they’d been taught to speak softly and minimize their presence. I thought back over my childhood and couldn’t remember being limited just because I was a girl instead of a boy. Sure, we had etiquette lessons in grade school – how to stand, how to sit, how to walk – but nothing like the pressures that people faced a generation or two ago.
I grew up knowing I could have a career and that it’s okay to work. I have my own bank account. I can sign contracts. Some things have been solved, at least here.
But full equity is not yet a reality. I’m beginning to fear more limits. I’m tempted to choose where to compromise. Maybe this isn’t my fight, I think. Because it can be a big fight. There are a lot of opinionated people who’ve attacked stronger targets than I am.
It’s a good thing W- is who he is. When I fret about discrimination about mothers, he reminds me that in the microcosm of IBM, there are plenty of role models from all sorts of walks of life, and that people make things work. There’s still more that needs to be done, but it’s a good start.
So, equity. Might be uncomfortable working towards it, might not make all that big a difference. Life is limited and all of that. But it’s worth it. Besides, what am I going to do with a life circumscribed by stereotypes? I’m in as good a place as any to push those boundaries, and maybe that will help the future push them out even more.
Please remind me if I let fear or the avoidance of discomfort make excuses for me. =)