What Can We Do About the Lack of Women Being Represented?
wow! what a week in las vegas! i was there for our vocal women live event as well as the toastmasters international convention. there was a lot of buzz about the lack of women being represented on the world champion of public speaking finals stage. in fact, there were no women. i was shocked and saddened by this too. for those that may not know, my husband won as the youngest world champion of public speaking in 2012 and i coached him through the process.
i am also quite passionate through this blog and through my other venture of vocal women, to help women use their voice to create change and impact!
a discussion was started in the toastmasters facebook group (thanks for acknowledging this david and asking what to do about it). i don’t need/want to rehash everything that was said but do want to call out the fact that people can be discouraged and upset about the lack of women on stage while still acknowledging the male competitors did a fantastic job to get there. i personally know the hard work, dedication and sacrifice it takes to get to that point.
many people (mainly men) were saying how rude and disrespectful it was to bring up the fact there weren’t women on stage, as if it suddenly negates how far the men who were competing have come.
we can do both.
we can still have excitement and be proud of the people who have made it while also having a conversation about how to get more women up there. we are missing a huge chunk of the organization as well as the world’s population by not hearing our messages or seeing our faces.
many people came up to me after the contest asking where all the women were, why we weren’t up there and what we can do about it. there is no one specific thing that would suddenly have the contest full of women (nor would that be good either, because then we would be missing the male’s perspective).
one side of this is that we live in paternalistic society so while i do not think there is any overt bias happening, i do think it runs along the same lines of why women still aren’t paid the same as men in the USA for the same job with the same skills or the disporportionate amount of men vs. women CEOs. part of it goes deep – it’s systemic, often unconscious but it does exist.
i don’t want to start a heated debate about that because it’s an intense, emotional issue and this isn’t the best platform for that but i do want it to be acknowledged.
on the flip side, there are tangible strategies that we can learn as women to enhance our speaking and storytelling skills. that is where vocal women comes in.
i mentioned it before and i’m bringing it up again because olivia schofield and i have decided to do something about the lack of women not only in the toastmasters speaking competition but also in the speaking, leading and business world.
we have decided to roll out another 6 months of our webinars after having the last 6 months be very successful. if you are feeling energized/upset/craving connection/curious as to what to do, we would love for you to join our community!
we are doing a special deal through the month of august that if you join this month, you get a month free! olivia and i were upset about this a year ago and decided to take action on it.
we are interested in women who want to join a supportive group of women from all over the world to increase your speaking skills while also being a part of a community. we would love for you to join us!
if you are a man who knows women in your own community who are looking to enhance their skills or connect with other people, please pass this along to them. we are dedicated to building each other up while also learning tangible skills to up our game!
as olivia said “we can all, with the nurturing guidance and support of our peers, male and female, improve and grow. some participants receive support at home from their families and though this is not necessarily gender specific, women often have more balls to juggle. this is not a toastmasters specific issue, it’s a society issue. all women that would like to be nurtured have the opportunity of joining chelsea and me in this venture.”
we would love to have you join us and pass this on to women you know who desire to use their voice to make a difference!
it is up to us to take action to change things we don’t like or disagree with it. only when we take action (even if it’s scary/unknown/not always well received) is when we can start making the changes we want to see…for that is a vocal woman.