I’m not a fan of gender issues. I tend to not engage in conversations around gender. This is simply because I do not put the weight on many gender issues that others do and I feel I am called to fight for individuals with dis/abilities instead. That being said, today, gender was an issue.
I can’t disclose details, but in short, a few days ago an opportunity was presented to me, which I immediately jumped at. The opportunity would use some of my strengths and be a truly life-giving experience. I found out however, that some individuals were not happy that I had been given this opportunity and it seems highly likely that this opportunity will be passed on to another more ‘qualified’, older, man.
(Full disclosure: I did not take part in that conversation and I do not know if the fact that I am a woman had anything to do with it.)
The focal point of this post is not about how others felt towards me or the grounds on which they felt I was unqualified for the job, but rather, my own perceptions and insecurities.
You see, I often feel as though people do not take me seriously. Part of this has to do with the fact that I look much younger than I am but it also has to do with the fact that I am a woman. This may or may not actually be the case, but the point is that somewhere in my development, I had reason to be insecure about my gender and it has stuck with me.
Recently, I have done a review of my personality type and vocational strengths. I know that I am an INTJ – this has remained the same for the last 15 years (or more). INTJ’s form just 2% of the population and women who have this personality type are especially rare. I have also recently completed a test called High5, which ranked my five greatest strengths as Storyteller, Time Keeper, Commander, Strategist and Catalyst. Do you see what’s happened here? In God’s great sense of irony, I have a man’s personality in a 12-year-old-girl’s body. Okay, not really, but you get my point.
My personality gets me into trouble from time to time and the truth is, as my husband agrees, if I were a man, it wouldn’t happen. Why is this? I appreciate the rights that women have gained in the past century, but the reality is, they were probably won (this doesn’t seem like the right word) by women who got in trouble a lot for thinking like a man.
How is it that we still assign personality traits, communication styles and leadership styles to a man or a woman? A woman makes a statement, and we assume that there must an underlying message but really, when I said I like milk in my coffee, I really just meant that I like milk in my coffee – we would never do this to a man. We give women a vote and don’t mind because we can’t see the face attached to the ballot but to run for office? That is an entirely different story. Why is it that women are called bossy, while men are admired for being decisive and assertive? So as great as genders are – maybe we give them too much attention. I am a leader and I happen to also be a woman. It’s time to get over it.