On International Women’s Day, it is important to reflect on the contribution of women across the world, and those who are unable to speak up, for fear of persecution. For many of us, we are privileged to live in a society where we have the ability to openly express our views, and enact change. But even in our comparatively safe situation, at times, a lack of self-confidence can get in the way of us speaking up and reaching our goals.
If we want to move towards gender equality, we need to have women who are willing to step up, and that requires confidence not only in oneself, but also in those who we collaborate and work with.
As leaders, we have to be willing to ‘lean in’ and express our beliefs and opinions, even when it can be difficult. This is something that each of us has to learn in our career. Self-expression is vital if you want to enact change.
I’ve worked with women and men who are masters at sharing their perspectives. It’s important to find people who do it well, then observe what they do and try it yourself.
It is also about mindset. To be more confident you have to be willing to take a risk, because not everyone will like what you say. Sharing ideas is an important part of driving change, even if we may not always get what we want. In my view, it is important to try, and sometimes it is a judgement call based on the situation, but if you never express your honest views, you won’t reach your goals.
So start with small steps, and easier topics, and work your way up from there. If we want to move towards gender equality, we all have a role to play. Being willing to express yourself and encouraging others to do so, is the way we’ll make a significant difference.
Carol Purtell – Senior Executive, Mental Health
I’m committed to ensuring excellence in mental health services and delivering high-quality, innovative and evidence-based services.