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Imagine a World…

Issue 110 — October 28, 2019

Imagine for a moment what the world would be like if men and women held fair and equal shares of top leadership positions across every sector. What are the words you would use to describe such a world?

Last weekend, I got to do one of the things that keeps me so powerfully committed to this mission of gender parity in leadership by 2025. I conducted training for new Take The Lead Leadership Ambassadors, the talented, passionately committed trainers and coaches who along with me deliver our breakthrough programs, from single workshops to the immersive 50 Women Can Change the World.

Kicking off a 9 Leadership Power Tools training for new Take The Lead Leadership Ambassadors inspires me to no end.

Here’s how they describe what they think the world would be like if there were true gender parity:

Energetic

Peaceful strength

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Innovative

Compassionate

Unleashed ambition

Fairness in the air — not just in the mind

Collaboration

Equality

Tolerance

A new song

Better women’s health

Safe

Free

What words would you add?

Safe, Free: Tanushree Ghosh uses #powertool7 #createamovement to make the world safer and freer for women and girls.

Tanushree Ghosh (Tanu) works at Intel as an engineer and supplier manager. She is also an activist, an artist, a writer and in her own words: a relentless DIY-er. She has a PhD in Material Science and Chemistry from Cornell University and has worked at the Brookhaven National Laboratories. She has volunteered for and chaired several national and international non-profits (ASHA, AID, Smile Donors, Mercy Corps, Global Reserve). She has contributed to multiple anthologies including the acclaimed ‘Defiant Dreams’ which was selected into Oprah’s reading list 2.0.

Tanu Ghosh teaching the Leadership Power Tool #7: create a movement, and mesmerizing us as she tells her powerful story of why she launched HerRights to mobilize resources for victims of gender violence.

Tanu uses Power Tool 7: create a movement. She started her own NGO — HerRights to facilitate resource mobilization for victims of gender violence. Find out more at www.thoughtsandrights.com. Tanu says:

I knew I had to find the power when I lay awake at nights thinking of what is at stake if I don’t succeed in doing my part for advancing and supporting women. I was in my third term of pregnancy when the news of Delhi Gang Rape (2012) broke. I was there, exactly where Jyoti was, just a week back — doing very similar things to what she was doing: making sure I take public transportation to be safe, making sure that I am not alone, enjoying social outings staying within the ‘common sense’ boundaries that are so often preached in India’s (my motherland’s) capital.

I realized that there is no defense, and only offense could work if I wanted to ensure my daughter, who I would give birth to in a few months would be safe from such a terrible fate. I was tired for all the women who constantly felt disadvantaged in big or small ways for just being born a different gender. I realized that life in the US was no different — from objectification to harassment and falling behind in career. I searched and searched for organizations I could meaningfully give my all to for having an envelope approach towards gender violence prevention and gender parity across the globe and decided to start my own.

What it will take for Tanu to succeed in her quest is for women and men to join together and shift the power paradigm from the narrative we have been taught, the oppressive red-in-tooth-and-claw power over others to the expansive, innovative, creative, and infinitely resourceful power TO. That change is at the heart of Take The Lead’s successful advancement of women leaders.

Lori’s story of grit and finding her value

Each participant in the train the trainer program came with her own story. Lori Chillingworth, for example, rose from entry level teller to Executive Vice President of Zions Bank. She left an abusive relationship when she was 22 with a young child to support. Her journey parallels that of so many women, including myself, who managed to get their education while holding down a full-time job and raising a family.

Lori started from a position of little or no power and had to learn the hard way how to value herself. During the training, Lori said repeatedly how much she wished she had had this course when she was young.

Lori Chillingworth inspires us as she tells her power TO story and teaches the Leadership Power Tool #6: wear the shirt (of your convictions).

We talked about whether today’s younger generation, at least in the United States, still has to deal with those same issues. And while we have all had the experience of a young woman saying that she hasn’t experienced any gender disparities in her career, we have also all talked with young women who after five or 10 years in the workforce came up against exactly the kinds of implicit bias that we help women to avoid, outsmart, and change on its face — or preferably all three of those strategies. (Contact us at takethelead@taketheleadwomen.com to find out more about how.)

And indeed, we have come a very long way. We want young women to believe they can do anything without impediment. We should celebrate when they do. Because of them, I believe we can reach true gender parity in the next five years. We need only to double where we are right now and we will be there.

That sounds like a tall order. But increasingly I find that women are ready, companies are either ready or they are getting pressure to be ready, and I know that we have the program at Take The Lead to help them make the change. We’ll need the resources: yes, money. As women we must learn to say that loud and proud not to stop until we get it.

So to that end, Take The Lead will host a friend raiser and fundraiser in Los Angeles on October 29. Space is very limited. If you are in Los Angeles and want to come prepared to help, or if you are moved by the powerful vision of a gender balanced word and want to help achieve it, feel free to direct message me on Twitter or Instagram @GloriaFeldt.

P.S. Have you subscribed to the Take The Lead Women podcast, where we discuss many issues like this and always give you practical tools for your unlimited life?

And as always, let us know, how can we help you?

GLORIA FELDTis the Cofounder and President of Take The Lead, a motivational speaker and expert women’s leadership developer for companies that want to build gender balance, and a bestselling author of four books, most recently No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. Former President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, she teaches “Women, Power, and Leadership” at Arizona State University and is a frequent media commentator. Learn more at www.gloriafeldt.com and www.taketheleadwomen.com. Tweet @GloriaFeldt.

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