Women have been inventing useful stuff for centuries.
From the first automatic dishwasher to windshield wipers to flat bottomed paper bags, women led the way. Heck, a woman invented kevlar, a plastic five times stronger than steel used in helmets, tennis rackets, and bulletproof vests.
(Oh, and if you were wondering, women also invented bras and disposable diapers. And God love Sara Blakely who created Spanx – best thing that every happened to this 43 year old caboose.)
Yet for some reason, you only hear about the men. Isaac Newton, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein. Even now, our kids are being taught about women thought leaders almost as an after thought.
Did you know the first American female inventor in recorded history – Sybilla Masters – had to file the patent for her corn processing innovation under her husband’s name?
The law at that time didn’t allow women to file patents.
Times have changed, laws have changed, life and work have changed. Heck, we’ve changed. I’ve worked directly with game changing women like Loreen Arbus, Jane Fonda and Pat Mitchell.
Talk about inspiring!
They shattered the glass ceiling and made it possible for women like me to slip on the proverbial Cinderella shoe and dance up the ladder like it was “no big”.
But was it enough?
If women who lived then saw the modern American woman today would they be impressed or depressed?
It’s still mainly men who hit the headlines in the business, science and technology pages. I’m not saying the men don’t deserve it – they definitely do. It’s just that women deserve to be there too. And when they get there, somehow there’s always some special emphasis or subtle theme that she made it, despite being a woman.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not a man hater. Quite the opposite, actually, I’m the girl next door – some of my closest confidantes are male.
To Max Hart, Jim Waters, Bob Cronin, Jeff Casey and Todd McKeown I send big love and thanks…
These men walked beside me when I needed guidance. At times they stood behind me to back me up. There were even times they jumped in front of me to take an arrow coming my way.
I’m eternally grateful for their friendship. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. And while maybe I should have seen the glass ceiling in 1992 when I graduated school, I didn’t. I simply refused to acknowledge it was there at all.
(I ignored it the same way you pretend those 4 inch sexiest heels ever aren’t crippling you at the event you’re speaking at, right? )
It was a bit shocking to a free spirited 22 year old, but I wanted to win. And I knew the only way to do that was to change the game by beating them at their own. The only way to build rapport was to “win”.
So I played by their rules to become the first woman at RR Donnolley to ever sell a million dollars. Then I played by mine and soon I was the Cinderella story of the company, selling almost 10 million. By the time I got to 20 million at age 25, I wasn’t moving mountains anymore; they were being moved for me.
I wish my story included picket signs or seats I refused to get out of because it wasn’t fair. But the truth is, I was working harder than I had to, to do it “their” way” I didn’t stop to look up and even acknowledge the ceiling. I was too busy putting on the glass slippers they “let” me wear.
But I did a few things my way. I had rules. I never stepped on a toe to get anywhere. I didn’t sell ice to Eskimos that didn’t need it. And to other women in the company I was kind.
Yet I can’t help but wonder, why aren’t thingsmore different twenty years later?
Why do men still reap the majority of the headlines and get all the attention?
I’ve got a theory on that.
As women, we’re not so good at tooting our own horns.
We’re trapped in a double bind. Men who shout about their achievements are seen as ambitious go-getters. Women who are proud of what they’ve done are seen as pushy.
Yet keeping it to ourselves doesn’t help, either. If we don’t get the word out there, how will people know about what we’ve done? If we lock it all inside, how will we ever get ahead?
Sister, we need a change.
Even for those of us taking the hill, are you being honest with yourself? Are you playing it by your rules? Are you a game changer?
That’s why it’s time to Magnify Her. It’s time women around the world start getting together to share our ideas and achievements. It’s time we tooted our trumpets without the fear of being silenced. We’ve got a ton to say – for some of us it’s been weighing down our hearts for decades – and it’s time to get it out there.
It’s important for women. Sharing what’s on your heart isn’t only for you. It’s for your mother who raised you and was the first person to listen to you, who delighted in your every idea.
It’s for all your girlfriends and every moment of laughter and tears you’ve shared.
It’s for your daughter, and her daughters, and her daughters’ daughters.
By sharing what’s on your heart, you’re not only changing your present. You’re transforming our future.
This isn’t even only about women. Sharing your ideas is important for the whole world, men too. Your fathers, husbands, sons and grandsons – all of them need you to start telling the truth.
Why is this so important?
First, because you are important – you must believe that. If you don’t care, who will? Your daughter and your son who will marry a woman just like you needs more.
Second, because, as start-up investor Joanne Wilson said, women invent things to fill a void in their lives. Women tend to come up with ideas to make their lives easier and better. Women’s ideas meet deep needs and are designed to create change.
Last, this stat says it all: Women make 85% of brand purchases, yet only 3% of creative directors and ad execs are from our ranks.
How does this make ANY sense?
Women are the shoppers. This makes them the buyers.
As a woman you know what you need. And more importantly you know what you want. If you’re like me you’re even open to being wrong and being shown a better way. It doesn’t have to be your idea – just a good idea.
And how do we get more good ideas? We work together. We create the wave to lift all boats!
We work to Magnify Her. Magnify You. You can do it. Together, we’ll do it.
Together, we’re here to share, create and make this world a better place.
It’s Her World. It’s Your World.
So go ahead, let loose – what awesome thing did you do today, last week, last month – ten years ago – I don’t care when – just give it life here, today.