Tomorrow, January 20, 2018, there is a march to ask for the impeachment of a president who admitted to sexually harassing and assaulting women. I think, your voice, your presence, in this issue is valuable, and I also think making sure your voice is heard is important to making sure your career is safe from harassment.
Photo by Vlad Tchompalov on Unsplash
There have been many posts about inclusion related to the Women’s March in 2017 and tomorrow’s march. I knitted many pussy hats last year and passed them out to anyone who wanted one, and it was so empowering to take a traditionally feminine hobby and view it as an act of resistance. I loved it!
But, there is a genuine question about whether the pink pussy hat represents only unity among white, privileged, cis-gendered women. Does it exclude women of color? Does it exclude women who don’t have vulvas? Does it represent that somehow pink vaginas are the only ones welcome at the march?
I have seen arguments back and forth. I have seen posts saying that black women, and women who do not have vaginas, do not feel welcome. I can understand where they are coming from. I would love to do more and see more done to recognize the horrific assumptions about race and gender we still buy into.
AND, your voice is important, no matter how other people react to it. Your voice is important, even if other people pass over it.
We often want to “be included” and for other people to make us feel like we belong. And, hopefully all of us have areas in our lives where we naturally feel included and belonging.
The areas where you naturally feel belonging are awesome, don’t get me wrong. But, those are not the areas where people really need you.
If you feel excluded, if you feel like people do not understand that you absolutely belong at the Women’s March, then those people need you to say it louder, show up bigger, and take up more space. It is not your obligation to do that, but it is a gift if you do.
I see the same thing happen with clients quite often, when they are thinking about quitting their jobs or changing careers. So, when I see posts about women taking themselves out of anything because other people are being jerks, a flag goes up for me. We want to feel appreciated and we want to understand we belong. This makes complete sense, and nothing I’m saying is to criticize that.
But, backing away from work you are good at because someone else is racist, sexist, or just plain mean, that does not punish the racist, sexist, mean person. It punishes you and the people who need to hear your voice.
If you did not see enough voices shouting that black lives matter last year, I hope you will bring more people with you and shout it louder this year. If the symbol of your freedom and resistance to oppression was not represented at a march last year, I hope you will make sure it is there in neon lights this year.
If you do not see people around you who represent your voice, that in itself shows how important you are and how much the people around you need your voice.
No, you do not have an obligation to share your voice, your talents, or your dreams with us. But, we do need you. It is easy to get quieter when we face really unfair opposition, but there is always the option to get louder. I hope you will take it.
P.S. If you notice yourself getting quieter and smaller at work, let’s jump on a call and make sure you are taking up as much space as you deserve. Click here to schedule a free, confidential strategy session.