Change and women’s role in society

Why is change taking so long? What’s so difficult about seeing the benefits of gender equality? Maybe there are some deep psychological reasons behind that I have not understood, but it seems I’m not alone! If we did, we would do something to speed up the process, wouldn’t we?

This spring I watched the series Mad Men on DVD. I felt very positive then; “wow, what progress we have had since the 60’s!”.  And it is true, a lot has changed the last 50 years. But, it seems we are standing still now. I could tear my hair out sometimes, e.g  when I hear that any woman anywhere could become CEO if she wants (forgetting about a few blockers that women face), that it’s women’s “choice” to dress half (or mostly) naked in music videos and that women covered in burka say they “choose”  to follow their religion (did anyone find the word burka in the Koran?) Living in southern Europe, I face the traditional expectations of women (generally speaking; good mother, always look good, be sweet, stay home or possibly work as a nurse or nanny, be a good cook, take care of all the house work) and a woman acting out of the box meets skepticism and/or criticism. Then I feel out of energy, hopeless, “things will never change”.

Clearly many businesses and many countries have a more liberal look on gender equality, it isn’t all that black and white as I have described above, but I keep facing old attitudes and lots and lots of blind spots, and it surprises me, I thought we had moved on (especially when I think of Norway, the most egalitarian country in the world). Speaking in general terms, I get a sense that people in majority (let’s say a heterosexual white man) are not trying to learn about the reality of the world through other people’s eyes (let’s say a coloured, lesbian woman). They defend their walls and their world, without trying to lean outside of the walls and see what it looks like.

My own five cents worth of reflection on this.. Change takes time. We like to stay within our comfort zone and keep things as we know them – it feels safer that way. When implementing change I believe in using resilience and creativity, let things mature and repeat the resilience and creativity. I hope that as a D&I specialist and coach, I can help contributing to open people’s minds, to trigger an appetite for learning and seeing other perspectives.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Tags: , ,