So, here’s the thing. This is going to ruffle some feathers… and I care, I really do. I just think this is more important than a few feathers out of place. And before there’s any finger pointing, name throwing or #notallmen hashtags getting about, let’s just cool our jets, and read on.
International Women’s Day. March 8th, it’s coming up this week! And I’m celebrating. Why? Well, I’m a woman (which in itself is a pretty remarkable thing to be), and I think we still have a long way to go for gender equality. Yes, there’s been improvement, but not enough. I’m not going to embarrass myself by pretending to be an expert on closing the wage gap, discussing the ‘mental load’, or even talking about the ticker tape parade my husband gets for ‘babysitting’ HIS OWN CHILDREN (he’s not asking for a parade by the way).
But what I am an expert on, is my own experiences. So I went out to my nearest and dearest with this blog to ‘test the waters’… and guess what?! No one. Not a single woman I spoke said they COULDN’T relate to these points below. That in itself is interesting, is it not?
So for those of you who are still here… Here’s 30, yes THIRTY ways you can shape up your attitude to help women out in this crazy time of life where we’re juggling career, and families, and loving thy self and having it all together, and being a hot mess, and somehow still showing up for ourselves, and our tribe. On the daily.
Don’t be a douche. (if you don’t understand this one… the rest are going to be tricky too)
When you are on public transport… if you’re spread eagle knees are taking up two seats… close those legs and let a woman sit down. For crying out loud she’s probably walked half a kilometer in high heels.
Wolf whistling at a stranger. Not okay. Don’t care what you think. Not okay. Don’t do it.
When you are describing a colleague (heck any woman really) use words such as ‘talented’ ‘clever’ ‘deep thinker’. Not ‘the hot one’, ‘cute’, or ‘gorgeous’.
If you describe someone as hysterical. Check yo’ self
Because a woman is CON-FI-DENT, that does not make her bossy/irrational/opinionated.
Never ever EVER tell someone they ‘run like a girl’. For a powerful insight into making this a society norm, check out this video of children (who don’t know that’s meant to be an insult) running ‘like a girl’.
If you have a girl in your life, Daughter, Niece, Granddaughter. Make a conscious effort when you first see her for the first time (that day) NOT to comment on what she’s wearing or how ‘pretty’ her hair looks. A girl who learns that there’s MORE to her worth than the clothes she’s wearing (or shoes, or hair), is going to value herself so much more as a woman when she grows up. She won’t be looking externally for her value.
When you’re standing at the supermarket checkout and reading the cover of trash magazines. Swap out the names of famous women, with famous men and see if it a). It still makes sense b) You would still buy it. C) Realise how F’d up we make out women to be on the front of magazines.
While we’re on the topic… got kids? During the bed time story, change the superheros to girls (and vise versa). With a house full of boys, I do this often (just to remind them) that girls are pretty super too.
While we’re on the topic of kids – There’s no such thing as ‘boys toys’ and ‘girls toys’. Your son likes dolls and tutus, awesome! Your daughter is really into the hot-wheels race track. Terrific! They’re kids they’re only taught the difference between boys ‘things’ and girls ‘things’ from their surroundings.
Teach your sons to listen to girls. Teach them that No means No, teach them to support their fellow female classmates (again, with a house full of boys, this is a big focus)
Dads, at some stage you’re going to have to buy your daughters pads, tampons or both. Please don’t be awkward/embarrassed. Don’t let her feel she needs to be ashamed or a natural part of being a woman. If women didn’t have periods, you wouldn’t be here (speak to your mother)
Housework, “It's YOUR MESS too”
You pee on it, you clean it up… without a reminder
Don’t try to explain feminism to women. You don’t get it, if you’re doing this, you.dont.get.it. Remember point number 1.
No, not all women are checking you out (I have no idea where this level of confidence comes from, but if it could be bottled – Ah-mazing)
In a meeting, don’t cut a woman off. She has a valid point, and has probably waited her turn. Do the same.
Yes, you can pick the sick child up from childcare it’s not always your partner/wife/mother-of-child’s responsibility. Her work is important too.
If you get in a lift (or any enclosed small space) late at night with a woman. Don’t be a creep. You can 100% be a genuinely nice guy. However she’s already got her keys in her hands, and phone ready to speed dial 000. Think I’m joking ask your girlfriend/sister/wife. It’s a real thing. And it’s so messed up that we as women as women are constantly in the flight or fight (maybe both) mode in these situations.
Got female friends in the ‘friend zone’. Move them out of there to just regular ‘friends’. No-one owes you anything, particularly sex.
Not sure about your girlfriends/partners/wife’s postnatal body. Get back to me when you have literally brought LIFE INTO THE WORLD.
Making jokes about an extra stitch after childbirth. See point 1. You’re literally joking about female genital mutilation (FGM includes the procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons)
Expecting a child? Congratulations. Here’s some phrases not to say “we’re pregnant” unless you’re a couple, both with a uterus, and both pregnant. You are not pregnant your girlfriend/partner/wife is.
PMS is definitely a thing but DON’T bring it up.
PND is more common than you think and DO talk about that.
Bread winner in the house. Congratulations. Openly discuss the bill, and how it’s going to be paid. Girlfriend/partner/wife not into the money side of things. SHOW HER. TEACH HER.
Date your partner. Been a while since you’ve got an ‘A’ for effort. Try harder.
Yes, there are things you can (physically) do, that she can’t. Don’t be an arse about it and NEVER use your strength to intimidate. The only thing we’re really jealous of is the convenience of being able to pee standing up.
Remember point 1.
If you’re a woman and you’re reading this thinking yes, yes, yes! Forward it onto the men in your life. If you’re a man, you can do better, you might be amazing to your partner, but there are other women in your life, be amazing to them too.
Choose three things that you can do TODAY to make this world a better place. Made for More is passionate about empowering women and leaders, on this day breakfast is nice and I do enjoy a hash-brown… But celebrating women once a year isn’t going to be enough to see the change we NEED.