Women belong in all places where decisions are being made

At the core of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s extraordinary life was a simple conviction: “women belong,” she said, “in all places where decisions are being made.”

This was the Coffee & Notes blog post I started to write last week. That quote gave me chills, and if you read last weeks post you’ll understand how it sent me off on a whole different tangent 🙈

We need more women here

We are hearing in every sphere – politics, business, academia, “we need more women here!” But 78% of women believe stepping up means even more hard work and many of us are already firefighting and thinly stretched.

You want me to be a leader, a wife, a mother and buy the birthday presents? There’s this constant pull of competing priorities.

Superwoman: an aggressive approach to life and work

Many of you will have heard me talk about the archetype of Superwoman. Our fear-based animal self, running on adrenaline and controlling everything to get it all done.

This quote by Chela Davidson captures the essence of Superwoman.

“My potential is pulsing through me, veins throbbing, bright future’s my heroine hit. I can be anything I want to be. I can do anything I want to do. I climb ladders and hierarchies. I make grades and money, love and babies and raise them alongside my standards for what’s possible. I can do anything a man can do. I am unstoppable and passionate and the only one providing for me, is me. I don’t need support, I lift others along the way, my deep caring is untouchable, unconditional. I will do everything, everything their culture wouldn’t allow. And I will do it all while being calm, collected and smokin’ hot.”

I believe that over the last 40 years, Superwoman has brought us amazing opportunities. We got a seat at the table at the highest levels. But Superwoman is making us sick, she’s burning us out.

It’s a very masculine energy. An aggressive approach to work and life.

An unlikely pioneer

I’m a little bit controversial and sometimes hard core feminists don’t like this viewpoint but I say men and women are different. Not that we are not equal. Not that we don’t deserve equal opportunities. We are different in the same way that apples are different to oranges.

For as long as we are oranges dressed up as apples, operating on an apple playing field where only apple ideas and attitudes are accepted. Then we won’t be able to contribute our natural gifts and talents as individuals, to say nothing of what we can contribute as a gender.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg was no Superwoman. She was described as “an unlikely pioneer, a diminutive shy woman, whose soft voice and large glasses hid an intellect and attitude that, as one colleague put it, was ‘tough as nails’.”

Maybe different is okay?

Bringing our unique feminine qualities does not have to mean weakness.

“It would be futile to attempt to fit women into a masculine pattern of ideas and attitudes, skills and abilities and disastrous to force them to suppress their specifically female characteristics and abilities by keeping up the pretence that there are no differences between the sexes.”

– Arianna Huffington: Thrive

Maybe we are different and maybe that’s okay. Maybe we don’t need Superwoman to compete and be taken seriously.

Are you ready to retire Superwoman once and for all?

Speak soon,