The whole topic of women in the workforce has a special place in my heart. I do not understand why there is a wage gap. I do not understand why men feel the need to talk over women. I do not understand why people think women in powerful positions are overbearing. That is absolutely ridiculous in my mind.
It is personal to me because right now, I am in a leadership position on campus. It is my job and I take it very seriously. I am the President/Executive Officer of the Student Network of the My Carolina Alumni Association. I appreciate my place of work because they do not tell me “no”. They encourage me to think outside the box and do fun things. They help me with whatever I need. They want me to move on and do great things. They are the ones encouraging me to go to the grad school program that I want. They love me like I am family. When I need them, they are there. So why does it matter if I am a man or a woman? Does it really? Not all ideas that come out of men’s mouths are the greatest. Women are brilliant and have thoughts of their own. They should never be put down like I have seen in other workplaces. That is truly just not okay.
Work environments are difficult for women in so many ways. We are expected to be seen, but not heard. We are expected to work the long hours, even if we have a family at home. We are expected to leave our newborn babies and come back to work after only a few weeks. How does any of that make sense? Isn’t life supposed to be more balanced than that? In the US, about 63% of working age women are employed. Japan has had a bit of a shift in the past few years to where 64% of their working age women are working. All of this came as a shock to me after reading a quote that Hakuo Yanagisawa, the former health minister from Japan. He said, “All we can do is ask them to do their best per head,” and continued to refer to women as “birth-giving machines”. I’m happy to see that Japan has made a move in the right direction. We need to do that as well. So men, just don’t do it. Listen when we speak and acknowledge that we have the same, if not more, training as you. And women, speak up and make yourself heard. Do great things and make people turn heads and wish they could do that too.