Okay, take a deep breath before you start raging in the comments section and hear me out…
I’m not suggesting we stop fighting for equality. I’m also not suggesting that the patriarchy is a good thing. What I am suggesting is that we don’t get anywhere only fighting it.
Listen, the patriarchy might be older than Jesus. A system that is culturally ingrained in our society for over 250 years isn’t going to change over night. Systems of oppression take a really long time to dismantle – and it’s likely we’ll see only minimal to moderate progress in our lifetimes. Does that mean we stop fighting? Heck no.
We have to continue to fight to undo the systems that allow men to advance at faster and greater rates than women. We have to continue to call out gender bias that exists in our daily lives. We have fight for equal pay, equal rights, equal opportunities for women – at every opportunity we are given.
But that is not the only way, we as women, will advance and make progress towards equality. If we sit around and wait for the systems to change – we’ll never get anywhere.
We have to learn to navigate within the system that currently exists; we have to learn – and teach each other – how to navigate in and around the patriarchy, too.
Here’s what I mean:
It would be nice if, like men, women were tapped frequently for leadership opportunities. However, men have a competitive advantage in the workplace. From being evaluated more frequently on “potential” instead of achievement to having more time with executive leadership in casual settings like drinks or golf, men are more likely than their female counterparts to be “tapped” for leadership by male leaders. That’s just the reality of the workplace today.
Sadly, it is more likely that an under-qualified male with “potential” will be chosen for leadership over an over-qualified female with a mountain of experience and achievement.
Now, we can fight to be invited to drinks and golf more often by executive leaders and we can keep racking up the achievements, doing extra work to prove our worth, and sit around waiting to be tapped – or – we can take ownership for our own career advancement. We can track our successes and contributions to the business objectives. We can find mentors, look for advocates, and secure sponsors in our advancement. We can learn how to communicate with our male peers and advocate for ourselves.
We can learn how to navigate within the patriarchy. We can learn to game the system.
"The enemy of femisim isn't men, it's the patriarchy. And patriarchy is not just men - it's a system. Woman can support the system of patriarchy just as men can support the fight for gender equality."
- Justine Musk
We know it can be done, the women who are in leadership in Fortune 500 companies and our government are proof that we can advance in a system that is set up against us.
The question now is, “How?” How do we get more women in the upper levels of leadership in more places?
That’s exactly what I am here to do. That is exactly what this blog is for. This is my life’s passion and mission – to teach women how we overcome every day obstacles to our success. To teach you, talk about, and share how we navigate around and in the patriarchy. To work together to fight against and dismantle the systems of oppression. To fight for equality by helping every. single. one. of you advance to your next goal – and break every. single. one. of the glass ceilings we encounter.
Stay tuned for the good stuff. Don’t forget to subscribe for regular updates.
Until we break more glass…