“And though she be but little, she is fierce.”- William Shakespeare
Savvy, my baby girl, is an incredibly curious, brave, and happy child. She sees the world as an adventure and believes she can do anything. I believe in her power to be brilliant, but I also know how difficult it is to live your passion and make a difference when you a minority girl raised in a world where women worldwide are oppressed and must continually fight to have a voice. Women not only are treated unequally and paid much lower than their male counterparts, but they are also harassed, threatened, and bullied (GamerGate). In order to ensure more than 12% of women thrive as leaders, CEOs, innovators, speakers, authors, and in STEM fields we need to guide our young girls to be resilient and fierce. Passion isn’t enough to make a mark on the world. Below is my keynote, The Path of the EdSHEro, I recently did for EFL Talks: Inspiring Women in ELT. Also, find some thoughts and my slides.
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Raising Resilient Young Women
EdSHEro- /ˈedSHēˈhirō/ Inspired with Sarah Thomas (@Sarahdateechur) to recognize the women who transform education with their passion and resilience.
Diamonds are formed in the Earth’s mantle under intense heat and pressure. Passionate women who want to shine their brilliance must be fierce and resilient because the journey is never easy. Passion and determination isn’t enough. We need to be share with our younger generation of women the pressures and situations we faced and how we overcame them.
We also need to make the current situation better for the next generation of women who are meant to shine. We need to advocate. Movements like #MeToo and groups like EVE, The Fair List, the Women in ELT Facebook group, and the Women in TESOL Facebook group are necessary. We need more.
We need to share our stories of overcoming the heat and pressure as well as reaching out to others we see going through tough transitions we’ve experienced. When I was pregnant at 40 , I was quite nervous about the future. My beautiful blessing, Savvy, was a truly unexpected gift. After trying with my partner for 4 years, she was conceived. I had thought after our first year of trying, I wouldn’t ever be able to have children. I had so many concerns about pregnancy, having the energy to raise my daughter well, and about the demands of my job. I had 3 international keynotes while pregnant. I really appreciated the women in my field who reached out to me and provided me with so much advice. They also were there to just listen and to reassure me they’d been there. I never asked them for support. Instead, these women contacted me on their own through Facebook messenger and I’m so glad they did.
We also need to be better at “thunderclapping.” I also learned this term from Sarah Thomas who does this with EduMatch. When women are keynoting or presenting we need to storm social media with their words of inspiration, books and resources. When conferences see this momentum they are encouraged to book more women. We also need to flood the conference with evaluations saying how much we appreciated and valued the message from the diverse, female speaker. Women make up a huge part of the education industry and tend to be the majority at conferences. If every woman sent an evaluation like this then conferences would make sure they booked more diverse speakers.
We also need to suggest women for opportunities. We need to write to conferences a list of females who we’d like to be inspired by. When I can’t do a keynote or presentation I share a recommended list of female speakers and their emails. I’m excited that many have gotten paid opportunities because of this. We need more women who are brilliant diamonds to look at the rock and be reminded of the difficulties of their journey and pull others up to shine with them.
Challenge: Take these ideas and help the young women in your life be fierce and brilliant. Share with them the virtual diamond and rock so they, too, will find inspiration to continue the journey.
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