Dear Women: On Women’s Equality Day

Dear Women,

On this Women’s Equality Day I have something on my mind. Deference.

I watch so many grown, smart, strong women defer their decisions, opportunities, and lives …to men.

I’ll be honest, growing up in a single-mother household, this was not my life experience.

My mother did not defer to men.

She stood next to them.

Partnered with them.

Pushed to be heard and didn’t play victim, confused or unintelligent to manipulate conversations….but if you don’t, it’s okay to leave it as confusion.

As a result, she wasn’t very popular with a lot of men. She didn’t care.
But women admired the hell out of her.

They saw something in her they wished for in themselves.

I consider myself lucky to have had her as my role model.

I have lived this way as well.

And have an incredible marriage to a partner.

A man who knows who he is and who is all in on who I am. Women and men are both complicit in this outdated charade.

The one where women pretend to be less than, not smart enough, not brave enough, or not tough enough to make choices and decisions all to protect the fragile ego of men who need to feel strong, brave, competent, and more intelligent. It is insidious and it has to stop. Just in the last few weeks, I’ve watched grown women do this with their partners. “My husband won’t let me or doesn’t want me to.”

I’ve watched mothers teach this to their daughters. “Honey, you shouldn’t act like that. It upsets your boyfriend.”Men, it’s time to treat women as equals.
You aren’t in charge. You aren’t your wife’s/girlfriend’s ‘daddy’ who gets to decide what she does with herself.

You aren’t the one who gets to dictate or put rules around what women do with their time, their money, their bodies, their choices, their lives. Women know how to do all of this and more. Women, if you want all of us to be equal, then we all have to start to take the risks associated with equality and personal ownership.

Stop deferring your life to the preferences of men.

Stop passively agreeing and then seething inside.

Stop using your ‘man’ as a convenient excuse when it works for you and then being furious when he actually thinks he can control you. If you are with a man who thinks he owns you, your choices, your life…have compassion for yourself that you are part of an insidious pattern that is centuries old.

Ask yourself if you really want to make your own choices and lead your own life…if you are willing to take the risk to make it happen. Seek out other women who are proving how to live as partners in the world instead of passengers on a man’s ride and then get the F*ck out.

This arrangement is a lie for you.

It is a lie to him.

And it leads to the perpetuation for all of us that women need to be different in order to protect the male ego and save him from emasculation.

I have too much love for the women of the world to watch this in silence.

And just like anything else, the only way to stamp out inequality is to call out the roots of it.

So here I am, saying what I can… in the hopes it grabs the attention of just one of you… Just one starts the wings of the butterfly effect.

Just one who seeks her own freedom and changes the trajectory of the world.

Kris is THE thought leader & expert for leading & managing a high-performing team as a woman CEO.