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Why I’ve Chosen to Stop Being a Silent Feminist
I could hardly contain my excitement as I watched the Golden Globes last Sunday and Oprah took the stage. For days I had been anticipating “the moment.” The celebrities I follow on Instagram had been highlighting the Times Up campaign and the intention to wear black to the infamous awards ceremony. I was invigorated by the solidarity demonstrated by the powerful Hollywood elite and I hoped for “a moment” that would grab the headlines and push the conversation forward on equality.
I am a feminist. A silent feminist. I have been silently watching a movement. In my own quiet approach, I have been spending time with others around me – those who share my ideals and concerns, but also too paralyzed to speak, so together we watched. We watched the awakening of voices, young and old, since January last year.
I did not join the millions of women who took to the streets of America to peacefully protest the imbalance of power and equality. I was struck with admiration as people who had never joined a protest took to the streets to demonstrate their demands for a better world. I watched and I waited.
I silently read countless stories describing individual moments in time, all ending with the hashtag, Me Too. I cried, got angry, and felt helpless as I read story after story from people I knew and people I didn’t know speak their truth. Yet I didn’t tell my #metoo truth. I watched and I waited.
I have built quite the suit of armor after spending twenty years in the workforce, often in environments with a higher percentage of male colleagues and frequently in meetings where I am the only woman. The collection of my own experiences, often from much earlier in my career, left me with an empty feeling, anticipating what was inevitably around the corner. There will be a backlash. I thought, “When will society deem #metoo to have gone too far?” I’ve watched and waited; the backlash hasn’t followed. Instead, women are more empowered than ever before. What began as #metoo has morphed into #timesup and women with celebrity, reach, and riches are working collaboratively to create change.
And then I witnessed “the moment.” Oprah’s speech accepting the Cecil B DeMille award was inspired. She bellowed, “A new day is on the horizon” with passion and confidence. I felt she was talking directly to me. I will no longer watch and no longer wait. I want to be part of the seismic shift in momentum. I want to help ensure that new day is actually on the horizon.
If you are similar to me, you might be thinking, “What can I do when I want to get involved, but don’t have celebrity, reach, or riches?” To get started I’ve captured what I intend to do:
1. Use my voice. I don’t have a million followers to influence the change of hearts and minds everywhere; however, I intend to start small with families, friends, or colleagues.
2. Use my talent. I pledge to increase my involvement in local ERGs, volunteer with a non-profit and pour my passion into helping programs focused on equality.
3. Pay it forward. Part of the magic of Times Up is the collective power of people working together towards a common goal. I plan to keep my eyes open to look for individuals who may need a little extra support as I embody my firm’s mission of Building the Next Generation of Leaders. Do you know anyone at work who may benefit from coaching or mentoring? Is there a new hire that is eating lunch alone?
4. Engage men in the conversation. True equality will only be reached when men and women are working towards that goal. I have the pleasure of working with several males who are conscious of their unconscious biases and are part of our movement at West Monroe to build a more inclusive workplace. I’m proud to be part of an organization that is committed and taking action towards inclusion & diversity.
A new day is indeed on the horizon. And, I woke up on Tuesday with a new found conviction to join the movement and drive towards the dawn of a new day.
Join me. What will you do to act differently, remind people that times up, and join the movement? Whether it be in small or big ways, please share your stories.
Julie Meyers is Director of Talent Acquisition at West Monroe Partners, where she is responsible for national talent acquisition for a fast-growing and highly selective consultancy known for its unique blend of exceptional business consulting and technology skills. She has twenty years of experience as a recruiting executive for leading organizations in the professional services, media, and insurance industries.
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Director, Talent Acquisition
West Monroe Partners
We are an uncommon blend of business-savvy consultants and technical experts who work together to achieve sustainable success. We are driven by opportunities to contribute to our clients’ commercial success. We partner with clients to help generate revenue, reduce costs, and transform their thinking. We are deep technical experts, uniquely capable to help you understand how technology can transform transactions, operations, and customer experiences. West Monroe isn’t a start-up consulting firm, but we act like one.... Continue Reading
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