Let’s try something really quick. I want you to think of a woman you work with professionally. It can be someone you admire and respect or someone yo
u can’t stand to work with.
Got someone in mind? Now I want you to describe them? You can even write down 3 to 5 words that you think describe this person.
No, really – do it!
What did you come up with?! How did you describe said woman? Did you use words like warm, kind, beautiful, sensitive, sweet, aggressive, bitchy, bossy…?
I pose the question because how we talk to and about one another is important. We need to champion and advocate for one another and it starts with how we talk about other women in front of other people (men, women, children, animals, whoever!). We can only do so much to change the perceptions and gender expectations on women. Something we CAN control – how we talk about women. If we are reinforcing that take charge women are bitchy and aggressive then that societal perception will not change. Let’s use words like assertive, leading, direct. Sure, women can be jerks too, I’m not talking about those women – I’m talking about the women who aren’t afraid to speak up, take charge and hold you accountable. Men who do these things are labeled “leaders” and “great managers” – however women get labeled as bossy, bitchy and aggressive.
Let’s each do our part to end this.
Here are some words to describe the women you love: intelligent, brilliant, leading, assertive, empowered, self-aware, conscientious, entrepreneurial, innovative, creative, determined, organized, collaborative, decisive, direct. These are just a few!
The reality – you’re not going to like everyone and everyone is not going to like you, but we can still talk about one another with respect. Instead of bad mouthing a female colleague to others, try giving them critical feedback to their face. Cut out the work drama and start having candid conversations with respect.
Here are some words to use when talking about a women (or any person) you might not love so much: challenging, assertive, direct, difficult, determined, independent, forthright…just to name a few.
Words matter. Use them intentionally.
Embrace the day!