Sometimes things like gender roles get to me. In case anyone who reads this doesn’t know me, I’m a woman. I am self-sufficient, educated, assertive and involved in my community. I perform my own car maintenance, have my own tools and know how to use them. I also have a (what some may call excessive) shoe collection.
This morning, a friend sent me a link to a leadership conference in New York City, called ‘Emerging Women'; an event with the tagline “Changing the world through Feminine leadership and entrepreneurship.”
So I Googled the word ‘feminine’, not because I don’t know its meaning, but because I wanted to see what anyone would see if they did this.
Physical representation of feminitity is one thing, I put effort into my appearance, and like the ‘frilly, girly things’ some days. What I don’t agree with, is presenting leadership as a feminine vs. masculine thing. So naturally my first thought upon perusing the Emerging Women link was… ‘I don’t want to lead like a woman, I want to lead like a leader…’
I will say, that I 100% support gender equality both in the workforce and out, and it’s amazing the strides that women have made to overcome oppression. Where I struggle with ‘feminism’ is when it gets turned around on men. Granted, there are still people in this world who place women ‘lower on the totem pole’ but for this conference – where women from the US and Canada are coming together to talk about ‘feminine leadership’ – is the suggestion that women need to do so differently than men?
Last spring, I participated in a production of The Vagina Monologues. It was a powerful, educational experience. There is undoubtedly work to be done to end violence against women, among other things; I understand that there are so many different circumstances that women come from, and experiences that have impacted their views on men – I have some of those experiences myself – but I think beyond the commonly, and less commonly known issues, there is just so much unnecessary focus on women versus men in so many forums.
How about embracing the unique attributes that each gender holds, and coming together to promote leadership as leadership?
Upon further perusal of the event webpage, I learned that this seminar and its speakers have a lot of valuable things to say and lessons to share. What I can’t get over, is the idea that if a group of men got together to do something similar, the feminists of the world would very likely take issue like PETA at Fashion Week. Equality is a two-way street. Let’s not add a double standard to everything.
er…. no thanks.
Rebranding and marketing this event to everyone with the inclusion of these strong female speakers and others (men, women, children… whoever!) would speak so loudly to the evolution of women in society without the need to decorate everything with ‘feminine’ touches.