Of course, women can lead

So, some guy on a recurring podcast is telling us women should not lead and it is a sign of weakness when they do? Really? I heard a Republican legislator say something similar about not being able to be masculine in this country. Really?

If that was not ironic enough, we were watching a movie just last night made in the early 1970s, where the two male leads were chatting about it not being a man’s world anymore and we should take our country back. Does that sound familiar? It should be noted this was still at the start of the women’s movement who were protesting they are tired of not getting opportunity and equal pay.

What I find of interest is an article which appeared this week about this legislator. Its point is if this bothers you so much Mr. Legislator, then why is the most masculine acting person in the Republican party a woman? Her name is Liz Cheney and she has far more courage than the men in her party, with the exception maybe of Adam Kinzinger who was an Air Force pilot and can rival her courage. Speaking of courage, Cassidy Hutchinson and Dr. Fiona Hill also have an abundance of courage, telling the truth with threats against them.

And, the guy his MAGA fans think is so tough, who called his VP a wimp for not breaking the law, cannot bring himself to admit he lost an election. Not very manly or very adult-like is it? Plus, he is the same guy who refused to do a debate if Meghan Kelly was on the next panel as she asked him hard questions last time. We later learned that it was not the questioner, it was the fact Trump was being fed the questions by someone at Fox News before the Republican candidate debates so he could prepare. Kelly just went off his preset script.

For the women-not-being-suited-to-lead-dude, Angela Merkel was the leader of the free world for years and Jacinda Ardern had the gumption to get better gun governance passed in New Zealand after a mass shooting. Golda Meir led Israel during a very tumultuous time. Last time I checked, Nancy Pelosi is Speaker of the House for the second time. That is leadership. And, while I was not a huge fan of her politics, Margaret Thatcher was so tough, she was referred to as the “Iron Lady.”

In an oft-quoted book called “Half the sky” by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn, the Chinese proverb on which the title is based is “women hold up half the sky.” Any community or country that does not bear that in mind is not only being unfair to women, they are being unfair to themselves as they are competing in a world with only half their assets.

Of course, women can lead. And, they can do no worse than many of the men who have been in such roles. Often, they do better.

My friend Carol who “leaned in” – a reprise

Although we are two days removed from Women’s History Month, I stumbled onto an old post of eight years ago that tells the true and still ongoing story of my friend Carol, whose decision to change her path forward is an example for us all.

For those of you who follow the wonderful blog called “The Bookshelf of Emily J”  you know that she recently highlighted Sheryl Sandberg’s book called “Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.” The post can be found with the attached link: http://emilyjanuary.wordpress.com/2014/05/07/women-at-work-leaning-in/. After reflecting more on Emily’s post, I decided to tell a story about my friend Carol who during the early part of her career realized she was not doing what she wanted to do and did something about it.

The fact that she realized she was not fulfilling her dream is not the story, as many come to this realization. The story is she did something about it and took a leap of faith back into her dream. Carol had always wanted to be a social worker, but she listened to the counsel of her father and studied something more practical in college that would gain her a better paying career. Unfortunately, he was focused on the economic value of the career and not the psychic value of helping those in need.

So, she got a great education from a wonderful college and embarked on a career with a major electric utility. She was doing very well, but something was missing. She did not know what until she began volunteering with a crisis assistance organization that helped people who were about to be evicted from the homes or have their power shut off. Through this community service, she rediscovered her social worker mindset and calling. So, she sought and discovered opportunity with this agency.

Since she also had the business mindset from her schooling, she was able to leverage her heartfelt desire to help those in need. Eventually, she became the Executive Director of this organization and has successfully led them for many years. Because of her solid reputation, she is also a go-to person for many community efforts or to be a spokesperson on the plight of those in need. She lends her voice to those whose voice cannot be heard.

I like many things about Carol. But, in my dealings with her, she listens to what others have to say and she is comfortable enough in her own skin to change her opinion if you present good arguments. Yet, she is also confident enough to stick to her guns when she feels she is in the right. And, she can sway those who may disagree with her through her intellect and conviction. Many new ideas have been piloted through her involvement, whether directly or indirectly. She is a wonderful partner. There is an old saying about change. When you are looking to have change, make sure you have people on the bus that will help move it forward. You want Carol on that bus.

Carol leaned in early on. She changed the arc of her career to do something she loved. She rediscovered her passion. Yet, she is also someone who you want to work with. That is one of her true gifts. Together, with Carol on board, we can solve many more problems than without her involvement. She is one those “lights” that President George H.W. Bush spoke of so many years ago. Thanks Carol. You are more than one of the lights – you are a gem.