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Why Bother Speaking Up?

Today, on International Women’s Day 2016, I ask you, “Why bother speaking up?”

As we celebrate women everywhere and continue to work for equality for women across the globe, there is something central about the progress women have made and their courage, commitment and conviction to speak up.

Look back at the past. Who is your favorite person who spoke up?

images-148Was it Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” and “Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.”

Was it Susan B. Anthony, who thought it was imperative that women should have the right to vote in the United States?

Or maybe it was Rosa Parks, Malala Yousafzai, Helen Keller or another well-known woman.

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Was it Margaret Thatcher, who said, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”

I respectfully beg to differ with Margaret Thatcher and this quote. I believe women can not only get things done, but they can say what they want and lead too.

I believe women can speak up and make a difference. For many years, they have.

Microsoft released a video today for International Women’s Day including hashtag #MakeWhatsNext that showcases how women have not only spoken up but that teaches kids about female inventors who have gotten things done and changed our world.

https://youtu.be/Y8DBwchocvs

In the video is a slide that says, “Everything is not ‘man’ made.” Interesting enough, when the video begins, young girls talk about Benjamin Franklin, Leonardo DaVinci, Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and other male inventors.

It’s not that we are not grateful and don’t want to acknowledge these fine inventors who also changed our lives. It’s that women belong in the list too – and not way down it.

When you speak up, you shine the light on what you can and want to do – and you shine the light on others who are doing, being and creating what you appreciate.

Sometimes you will have days where you will need to speak up for yourself. Other days, you’ll need or want to speak up for others who cannot or will not speak up for themselves.

When you speak up, you create the opportunity to make a difference for others and yourself – whether it is personally, professionally and philanthropically.

So on this International Women’s Day this year, I say, “Speak Up, Women!”

If you want things to change, then you’re going to have to start by speaking up.

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