Women in the Workplace

I love Pantene's #ShineStrong campaign. I think that many can strongly relate to their message  because we have all felt the impact of gender stereotypes at one point or another. I certainly have. 

I am no feminist, I don't believe that men and women should be equal. Simply because we aren't. Men and women are different, physically and mentally, so that we can fulfill different roles and carry different responsibilities in life. I mean, if my car breaks down and there is a man around, no way I'm fixing it myself. There is also no way I would get out of the car and run around it to open my husband's door and help him out, but I expect him to. There are men, and they should do "men things", and then there are women.

I also don't believe, however, that women need to be the ones who will settle, who will be expected to give up their dreams to take care of the house and family. I'm a family girl. I love family. I am as hands on as I can be, as around as I'm able to, as supportive and committed as I'm capable of; but although being a great mom is a priority, I don't believe my calling ends there and I'm not willing to forever sacrifice passions, work and career just to fit into the mold of what the "perfect woman" should be. I'm ambitious. I'm passionate. I want to grow in all areas of my life. I want to be more and to have more so that I can do more. Ambition is not always selfish and negative. Ambitious and greedy are definitely not the same thing. Neither is ambitious and "not present". Sometimes we have this idea that women need to choose between children and a career. Why can't we have it all?

It's so exciting that many women have the opportunity to excel, succeed and lead in corporate environments- as entrepreneurs, CEOs, managers, innovators... Women have so much that they can offer to the workplace and I really believe that businesses and organizations can flourish when men and women partner together because we see things differently, we think differently and we problem solve differently. That is why there are two genders, so that they can embrace their differences and complement each other. But sadly, I don't think this happens as much as it should. 

When a man delegates tasks or goes for a promotion, it's often seen as normal- people look up to him and view him as a leader. However, when a woman is made in charge of a project or decides to accept a senior role, she is often seen as being selfish because she isn't at home taking care of the house or children.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO and author of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, speaks about women quitting before they even get started because “eventually” or “down the road” they want to have children. Why can't women do both? I think that women can have a career and children too. It doesn't have to be one or the other... And it may not happen at the same time... But a woman, if she chooses to, should be able to have children AND pursue her interests and abilities beyond the home.

As women, let's support each other and encourage one another- let's stop criticizing an individual's choices just because they are different to our own. Instead of comparing ourselves to other women, let's cheer them on and allow their journey to inspire us in our own. As the Pantene ad rightly says, "Don't let labels hold you back."