“We are building a leadership center that helps girls and women understand… what is their own story and how do they want their story to impact the human story.”
~ Carla Goldstein, Director of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center
Courtesy of my association with media artist Kathleen Sweeney, author of Maiden USA: Girl Icons Come of Age, I got to read the transcript of the Press Call for “Say What You Mean, Be Who You Are: How Young Women Can Challenge Today’s Media Culture” ~ A Workshop for Young Women being offered by Rachel Simmons, August 10-12, 2012.
To help me internalize what the women on this call had to share I made a game of copying and pasting sound bites that spoke to me. Like this:
“…How do young girls and women actually use leadership to change how power operates in the world, to change the nature of power itself…”
Such a good question, right?
Rachel Simmons (whose ‘Girl Meets World’ Curriculum Training I took this past March in Boston so that I might better help girls with the communication and conflict resolution skills we ALL need to practice) spoke very eloquently. She said things like this:
“…while girls are doing fairly well in high school – they’re holding a lot of leadership positions, they’re outpacing boys in their grade point average and attending colleges in greater numbers – what we’re finding is that when they leave college, young women often begin to struggle.
“And the way that I like to describe this is that while their outer or external resumes are fairly stellar, their inner resumes are flagging. And by inner resume I mean the psychological skills that are required to advocate for yourself; to know what you really think and feel; to ask for a raise, for example; to face challenge and to deal with criticism.”
I wish it didn’t, but this really speaks to me because of my own “inner resume” experience. Too often I feel its… droopiness. And I know it shouldn’t be the case, but that’s what goes on. Why must it STILL be so? And MUST it be so my whole life long? Is there any help for it?
And then Jamia Wilson from Women’s Media Center said it out loud:
“I was thinking a lot about mentoring and modeling and my own internalized oppression and conditioning as I train girls… and how I handle that. And I was wondering what resources are available for older women and young women who are doing this work … to unlearn some of the things that we learned? …What resources exist for those of us who train so that we’re not modeling behavior that is problematic for girls.”
Such a brave question, right? I was so grateful for it and couldn’t wait to read how it would be answered. Sara Nowlin, Program Director for Girls Leadership Worldwide responded with this:
“The biggest thing that we emphasize is embracing our own humanity and recognizing that we’re all on our own journeys. And recognizing we still have growth in our own internalized oppression. And recognizing that the women who are 20 years older than our girls, who are faculty members, are still dealing with some of the same stuff.
“And if we can just embrace that we are human and have these places, then it gives people a little bit more permission to just have an oops moment and recognize that, oh, maybe that’s not what I really want to say or maybe that’s not really how I want to speak about myself or someone else and then restate what they really want to say.
“So I think it’s an opportunity to… continue to do the work and have compassion for wherever we are as we continue to practice what we want.”
THAT helps me. A lot it helps me. So, yes, I’m very happy to be aware of the Omega Women’s Leadership Center and the important work they’re doing – like offering Rachel’s Workshop for Young Women – to transform what it means to lead.
Our own story and how we use it to impact the human story.
Jeanne & Ruby