Same as you
Source: Cottonbro / Pexels
Women have been negotiating for public, private, and workplace equality for some time. While progress has undoubtedly been made, the reality is that women still make less money than their male peers.
While there is an increase in women’s participation in many industries, there is still a deep gap in equity partnerships. For example, more than half of students attending law school are now women, yet the number of female partners remains low, and equity stakes are usually lower for female partners.
Not only is income inequality still a problem, but the perception of women in power is still negative compared to their male counterparts. Study participants showed pictures of two meeting rooms, the only difference being that one had a male at the head of the table, and the other a female, consistently describing the male-led table in more complementary terms than the female. Equal positions do not generate the same treatment.
It is important to realize that being equal does not mean being the same. Feminism once advocated that anything men could do; Women can do too. If men can exploit women, women can exploit men. “Equality” has been confused with “same”.
Not to denigrate the feminists of that era. , but an unfortunate byproduct of this approach was that in order to be seen, heard, or taken seriously, women felt they had to give up much of their feminine power and adopt a masculine version—of the great. Shoulder pads for aggressive negotiation style, to refusal when holding the door. Success was determined on the basis of a male competitive model. To negotiate a successful life, it was believed that one had to negotiate like a man. For one to be equal, one must be oneself.
The cost for the woman was the original. Perhaps it is now safe to try to redefine the feminine power and allow each woman to choose what she looks like.
A recent article criticized women for wearing active clothing instead of dresses and heels. The author (a woman) suggested that wearing yoga clothes or leggings is a misleading feminist statement. One might assume that as much as a woman can wear whatever she wants, she has taken a step forward. It would be an exaggeration to conclude that wearing active clothing is somewhat of a feminist challenge, when it is a choice of comfort, a choice of style, or a celebration of the body.
If the point of the article is that the way women dress affects their confidence, then that makes sense. But suggesting that women need to dress up to be taken seriously is a step backwards.
If any woman chooses to dress to feel more powerful, cheer her up. But judging other women on their choices seems frustrating and problematic. In fact, the earlier women stop judging other women’s choices, the faster they will be able to rise and advance in their power.
There is no one way for a woman to appear. A woman can be strong and sensual at the same time. The two are not contradictory. But women can also be strong and weak, softly influential, softly controlled, or fierce and wonderful. Any and all of these methods can be very effective. Sometimes women take charge, sometimes they give up control.
Women are beautifully complex, multi-faceted, and multi-talented creatures, intentionally choosing which of the many aspects to embrace in a given negotiation can be a source of strength. Women need to learn to embrace and express all the different elements that make them integrated, because that is the strength of a woman. The key is choice. To be equal, one does not have to be the same.