Since the equality movement that began in the early 1970s, we have been conditioned to believe that men and women think and act alike— but after 40-plus years, it’s clearly not working for us. When we share the mindset that both men and women are similar as professionals and leaders except for minor personality differences, we become gender blind.
We then try to fit all people into the same mold and often women feel the pressure to fit into a more masculine way of behaving. We don’t feel valued or appreciated for who and what we are.
We are suppressing our true natures and trying to act the same instead of acting as ourselves. The fact is that men and women are different. We do almost everything differently. We communicate, solve problems, prioritize, make decisions, resolve conflicts, handle emotions, and deal with stress differently.
It’s easy to proclaim that “we’re all equal” and go about treating each other the same, but when the dust clears, men and women are still misunderstanding each other and being misunderstood. We’re not valuing each other and we’re even further away from finding the complement in each other.
I believe that gender equality must focus on equality in value and not just equality in numbers. Although equal opportunity and equal pay continue to be highly valued (and rightly so), I express gender equality as the ability for men and women to bring their authentic selves to work and be equally valued for the difference in our ideas, decisions, and leadership—not a sameness or uniformity.
I look at gender equality from a strength-through-differences standpoint rather than equality in numbers. Men and women bring different perspectives to the table and need each other’s perspectives to sustain growth and success in this highly competitive, global information age.
Bottom line – We can thrive in a masculine environment without changing who we are. If you would like more tips on how to do just that, then download my free Magnetic Influence Litmus Test where I share 4 simple questions you can ask yourself to predict your ability to influence, and how to gain that influence.