Oct 14 2020 • 3 min read • International Women's Day
Pursuing a world where we move beyond celebrating the basic right of equality
In recent times we have witnessed an “inclusion revolution” with significant attention focused on gender issues, including financial commitments in the billions of dollars being directed to addressing the challenges that create barriers for women. Whilst the progress must be acknowledged, we know that there is still much to be done to achieve gender parity. The advocacy work must continue, even when the topic may get arduous for those who are not directly impacted by the disparities, we should remain steadfast in striving for a world where we move beyond pursuing the basic right of equality.
We have witnessed momentous occasions in history on the road to equality, including, winning the right to vote; the right to property ownership and as recent as September 2017, the late arrival of the right for women to drive in Saudi Arabia. In the workplace, it’s exciting to see organisations publicly announcing their intention and targets to achieve workplace gender equality. Movements such as HeForShe, with 2.2 million gender equality web commitments and counting, and 1.3 billion social media conversations confirm the momentum. Clearly, gains are being made, but the question is: What can be achieved beyond gender equality?
The equality conversations places limits on how far women can rise
Redressing past imbalances should not go uncelebrated. The truth however, is that solely focusing on equality can be limiting to how far women aim to rise. We should be going beyond equality to see women create a world that they imagine, without limits placed upon them.
In her book, Moments of Lift, Melinda Gates asserts that, “The objective is not to have women rise to the level of men and exceed them; but rather that they rise and together with men, break down hierarchies that create societies which are exclusionary.”
The goal therefore should be women finding ways to be the highest, truest expression of themselves, defining and achieving their High Impact Goals.
A story recently shared by a high ranking female executive, demonstrates how even women at the pinnacle of their corporate careers have a longing to contribute further than what is sometimes provided. In a conversation where her male boss expressed to her that “she was the best decision he had ever made”, unbeknown to him, what was seemingly a “compliment” triggered her to recognise that, her being there, had more to do with how she was enabling his objectives only and not hers. This stirred up a bigger question for her, that caused her to redefine her path differently, beyond being one of the few women leaders in the business.
She challenged herself to align her life’s work to her high impact goals, which led her to work with an Ivy League institution leading an accelerator program for entrepreneurs on the African continent, something she is extremely passionate about.
Building environments where women can be deliberate about exploring how they truly intend to contribute towards both their goals and those of their organisations starts to create significant impact, beyond targets.
Going beyond equal and driving significant impact
People thrive when they operate at the intersection of their Purpose and Impact. A catalyst to growth is defining one’s High Impact Goal, and this is to individuals, what a Massive Transformative Purpose is for an organisation. It is a goal that is linked to purpose, solves for and contributes beyond one’s self. Perhaps more importantly, the more we pursue (and attain) our High Impact Goals, the more fulfilled will we feel about the work that we do and become propelled to go further than achieving equality.
Author: Kele Boakgomo: Co-Founder & CEO, Yugrow