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The Truth About Making the World Better for Women

The Truth About Making the World Better for Women

Perhaps my favorite tweet of last week was “Everything – literally every thing, every single thing, absolutely every damn thing – that you can do to make the world better for women also makes the world better for men.” Thanks to Helen Rosner (@hels) for this one.

I liked it, along with more than 13,000 others.

And aren’t men better off with wheelie suitcases? (They were designed for women business travelers.) Drink holders in cars? (Imagine a mom in a mini-van without one.)

Yes.

Aren’t men better off with more generous family leave policies? Flexible work arrangements?

Yes.

Fewer hyper-masculine, toxic workplaces?

I would say yes. Those can’t be good for anyone.

But how about women having more senior roles at work? Having more money?

Mmmmm. This is where things can start to feel a little more threatening for those already in power.

Sure, the research tells us that more diverse leadership teams lead to better business results. And that when women earn more, they put more of that money into their families and communities than men do, and they contribute more to non-profits. They can also spend more, thus growing the economy; when they invest more, that can make for healthier markets and drive more capital to businesses, so that those in turn can grow.

All sounds good.

But if women start winning, aren’t men losing? If people of color are gaining, aren’t white people losing?

That is true ... if you are in the buggy whip industry (or maybe the traditional print-only media industry): If there is no potential for growth, then if one wins, the other loses. The pie cannot grow.

On the other hand, if the pie can grow (and it can), if the economy can grow (and it can), if there is no limit to new businesses being formed (and there isn’t), if business performance can improve (and it can) ... then what makes the world better for women makes the world better for all of us.

This doesn’t mean that all men will begin to share power in droves; some will, but many will continue to buy into the “You win, I lose” / “If it ain’t broke (for me), don’t fix it” mindset.

It does mean that we women can take power, push to make and have more money, drive change, evangelize, march, start new businesses with the knowledge that we are making the world better.

Not just for ourselves, but also for everyone else. So we can move from “Pardon me, I’m sorry” to “You’re welcome.”

This piece was originally featured in the Ellevest newsletter, What The Elle.


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