A recent Chief Learning Officer magazine article "Anything Men can do, Women do better" began with "Even as a recent study shows women have higher scores in leadership competencies, beliefs regarding gender and leadership still hinder women's opportunities for career advancement."
Oh really? Are those beliefs also responsible for the "empowerment" conversation that I have been following for some time? Blogs, articles, books etc. are talking about the need to empower women. I am curious, is it really true that women are in need of being empowered? And who or what would do that?
I believe that empowerment is an inside-out job. The Iceberg Metaphor came to mind. We are so used to concentrating on the visible part of the iceberg (only about one-eights is above the waterline) that we fail to understand that its real power lies beneath the water. Tragically, Titanic proved that point 100 years ago.
We only see what is obvious to us. By concentrating on what is visible and ignoring the unseen, women are disconnecting from their power source. They will diligently search outside themselves to find what's "missing", when all they have to do is look inside to find it. It's already there!
So why do women need to be empowered? Seems to me all women need is to find the courage to believe in their own power and act on it.
In my work with emerging female leaders I frequently encounter a tendency to doubt their own ability. Few see themselves as powerful and some find power distasteful. Often they are stuck in outdated mental models, stories that were told long ago about the roles of males and females in business and society. Remembering casual remarks about what "good girls" do and don't do prevent them from taking on leadership roles that they are well qualified for.
As a woman, I understand women's power issues. All I have to say to that is: "Get over it!" As a woman you own the power to be "empowered". It lives inside you. All you need to do is embrace it. Look at your "iceberg" and see what lies beneath the waterline. You will be amazed!
It's Spring, a time of renewal. A perfect time to connect with your inner strengths, to visualize your power, and act to bring it into the world.
Love to hear from you.