I’m a woman – what’s your superpower?!
A few years ago, when I worked a full-time corporate job, I hosted a global conference for my human resources team. One of the themes was finding and celebrating your superpower.
At the time, I deemed my superpower to be ‘cultural architect’. My job (and I considered myself to be good at it) was to take a complex organisation and help shape it into something better – if you will, to ‘architect’ or ‘build’ a great culture. Looking back, I make no apology for my lofty self-perception and ambitions. Why shouldn’t I be a cultural architect?!
Yesterday was International Women’s Day, and all this week we are celebrating the achievements of women throughout history and across the globe. I’m therefore asking every woman to declare their superpower – and believe me when I say, I know that you have at least one!
If all the women asked came back to me and said, “Elisa, I’m a woman, that’s my superpower!” I’d be truly delighted. But what would you say to that question?
Yesterday, I spoke to an internal group of colleagues at the British Medical Association about the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day – that of #ChoosetoChallenge. This theme is about asking everyone to consider how they show up as individuals. It’s about understanding that everything matters – how you behave, how you react, what you think and what you accept or challenge. As the saying goes, “the standard you walk by, is the standard you accept”.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality – indeed any kind of bias, poor behaviour or inappropriateness. How you do that matters. When you speak out matters. Above all, actions should be rooted in authenticity and truth. To speak out in a timely fashion can be difficult. It can take huge reserves of courage. But when you do, you make change happen, even it’s just a tiny step in the right direction.
The colour purple
International Women’s Day is also about the colour purple – #EachforEqual. Purple is associated with certain admirable qualities and traits that are especially important to our willingness to take a stand against injustice. For example, it represents loyalty, constancy of purpose and steadfastness to a cause.
If we are to collectively architect a better world, then being respectful and loyal to each other is key. Staying steadfast to our beliefs in the pursuit of equality is equally important.
Dignity and self-respect
The mighty colour purple (who knew!) also represents dignity and self-respect. And to treat others with dignity, to respect others, we must of course first respect ourselves. This makes me think of Eleanor Roosevelt’s great quote:
Finally, purple stands for bipartisanship, a perhaps less commonly used word from the English Dictionary. Being bipartisan holds to a principle that while two parties might vehemently disagree with one another’s politics, there is always a path forward – a way through to find consensus and common ground.
When I think about the great women I have known in my life, bipartisanship would certainly be one of their superpowers!
Let’s honour the achievements of women. Let’s shout it loud and proud:
“I’m a woman – that is my superpower!”