Is It Really Our Gender?

 In Personal Development, Women Leaders

Ladies, this might be the most unpopular thing I have ever written. But, I can honestly say that I have never felt that being a woman has prevented me from getting ahead. In fact, I think many times my gender has been an asset.

I know that I am in the vast minority of women who feel they have not been decimated based on gender.  And for years, I have tried to figure out why my experience has been so different from others. My first thought is that perhaps I have been discriminated against, I’ve just been oblivious to it. My second is that I am so damn determined that if a door closes, I don’t bother with the window, I just find another house. And lastly, and this is probably a big one, in my career, I have never made a man more important than me. I don’t give them power over my success, happiness, or my financial well-being.

I know discrimination against women exist. It’s as old as the Adam and Eve story. But how much could we change the imbalance if we refused to make it an obstacle? If in our minds, we stopped giving other people power over us and instead went confidentially about accomplishing our goals and dreams despite the inevitable setbacks that could be used to strengthen, not weaken, our convictions. Now that would be an interesting world!

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  • Shelley
    Reply

    Great post Dawn. Like you, I have been blessed with abilities that I parlayed into a career. In high-tech, it is a known male dominated field. My second career, in yachting, is also male dominated.

    In retrospect and present day, I simply don’t “see” gender nor other differences (nationality, race, etc.) in the sense of “can I get ahead” or is there an obstacle because of mine or someone else’s gender. In the business world, I have always focused on what needs to be done, who can do what needs to be done in the best, most efficient manner.

    Women bring an entirely different, and needed, set of skills and emotional intelligence than that of their male peers. I think both are highly relevant and complimentary. Differences exist, gender bias can exist, and yes there are obstructionists on both sides of the gender lines that get in the way of personal advancement be it a career move or simply something you are trying to get done.

    Differences, in my experience, are to be thoughtfully understood, embraced and learned from to a better outcome for all. I agree, what an interesting world it would be!

  • Susan
    Reply

    It’s important to reflect on how you are located in the world (i.e. race, class, sexual orientation, ableness, etc.)
    Theoretically, yes, wouldn’t it be nice and the idea of people not giving up their power is a good one.
    This, however, assumes a position in society where one has “power” / privilege / means.
    It also seems naive / judgmental / dismissive of anyone who has experienced gender bias discrimination that they just didn’t try hard enough or somehow willingly gave up of their power.

    • Dawn Kohler
      Reply

      Susan you make a good point. I was referring to gender but that’s difficult to isolate when it is attached to the greater issue of diversity, capability, and social ecomonic status. Not everybody has the power to be empowered. And then there are those that have the power but feel powerless. Regardless, i do not think it is an issue of not trying hard enough. I do however think we can change the way we think about it. Our circumstances can limit us,and so can our thoughts. Unfortunately, due to many factors, sometimes the only thing we can do is control the latter. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

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