I loved Oprah Winfrey’s rousing speech at the Golden Globes where she reminded the world that the men of this world who abuse their positions of power that their time is up. You can read her speech by clicking here. The time has come where women are feeling more comfortable standing up and pushing back against so many of the oppressive ways that have gone on far too long in our culture. Whether its violence against women, discrimination against them in the workplace, or simply getting the respect they deserve, the pendulum has shifted towards a world where the spirit of equality and acceptance is embraced.
It’s great that the abusive men of this world have been put on notice. Some of them will get what they deserve, not enough of them. Hopefully, at a minimum, some will rethink the way they treat women. However, I hope that on this International Women’s Day men and women will all continue to think about the role we can all play in adding to the momentum that’s empowering women to be strong, to speak out, to stand up and demand they be treated as equals.
There’s lots we can all do, men and women. But as a man I need to take ownership for the way we men have contributed to the oppression of women. I know the world can change, because I’ve changed. I’m now just one year away from turning sixty. I’m a strong supporter of women’s rights. I’ve worked with strong women, had them as bosses, been their boss and encouraged them, and I’ve hired them into male dominant roles. But that hasn’t always been the case. As a young man in my early twenties I was a strong chauvinist.
I learned. I grew. I changed.
As a man I have to understand the positive role I can play in creating a world where women are respected and treated as equals. It begins with how I treat the women around me, with how I don’t sit back and let the men around me talk negatively about women, with how I encourage women to harness their strength and push through some of the crap that has held them back. You can read an earlier blog I wrote on International Women’s Day a few years back by clicking here.
I urge all men to be cognizant of the positive influence they can have on the males in their lives. A young boy’s attitude towards women can be shaped in a positive way by seeing strong male role models embrace equality. Men can also have a positive influence on young girls, young women, and both genders by simply being men who treat women as they should be—equals.
There’s no place for gender discrimination.
I’m glad abusive men of this world have been put on notice—that their time is up.
I’m also glad that my time is not up. That I still have time to play a role in pushing us all towards a more inclusive and egalitarian culture.