Women don’t realize how powerful they are. If they did, there wouldn’t be a need to empower them. Even the term empower means "to give power or authority to", which itself speaks of patriarchy.
In her book, Sallie Krawcheck explains how it’s time for women to take an active role in their future by owning their power. After a long-standing, successful career on the Wall Street, Krawcheck observes how she was invariably the only or one of the only women in the room and often the only person to question the status quo. However, the world is changing. Studies show that companies with greater gender diversity outperform on multiple parameters.
Women have high emotional intelligence, good communication skills, more risk-aware and thus able to make complex, long-term decisions. Embracing and investing in these uniquely powerful strengths makes them valuable employees, terrific team players and effective leaders.
So, how can we own all our amazing attributes to get ahead in our careers? The first step is by defining what success means to us. When success is a quantified parameter, not only does it provide a scale to measure performance, it also removes a lot of gender biases.
Research shows that women earn 78 cents for every dollar and live five years longer than men. When compounded over the years, it translates to millions of dollars in lost economic power. For women, this means it is time to ask for that raise and negotiate terms that help achieve career and life goals. It is time to have courageous conversations in the workplace about diversity, company culture and flexibility without any inhibitions.
Technological advancements also play a key role in improving conditions for women in the workplace. They are bringing down all kinds of barriers for women to improve existing businesses or start new ones, thereby offering them more information which equals more power.
Lastly, and most importantly, financial control is the key. More money means more power which allows you to invest in your future—pay off that debt, build an emergency fund, save a percentage of your salary and invest those savings.
As Sallie summarizes, growing power for women isn’t good for women or men. It is good for women and men. So, go out there and own your power.