Two Epiphanies (or Negotiatress!)
Women the Workshop was born in Berlin in May 2019, as the outcome of two epiphanies. The coincidence of several seemingly unrelated events resulted in a sudden and painful moment of realisation- I suddenly grasped the dumbfounding price that women are paying for the way we interact with society, and society interacts with us. We are losing economical, psychological, and emotional welfare left, right, and center by failing to negotiate!
Old problem, new solution
Marginalisation and exclusion of women are hardly new concepts, nor is the heavy price we pay for them. In fact, the glass ceiling and gender wage gap have been with us for a while. As have mothers who put their well-being aside for their families, wives who put their careers aside for their spouses. Sexual and domestic violence are old news and global news. The subject of my epiphany was that all these realities came down to one absolutely essential life skill that someone had neglected to teach us women effectively – to negotiate for ourselves.
If Not Me, Who?
The equation is simple- the person best suited to identify your interests and advocate for them- is you. If you are not representing your interests, no one is. And if you never learned to identify and advocate for your interests, you forever remain in a child-like state, hoping and waiting unrealistically for others to advocate for you.
My conversations with countless women only supported what research shows. They showed that many women dread negotiation or feel skeptical of the prospective rewards from it compared to their male counterparts. Research also shows that they have good cause to feel so. Because women who do choose to negotiate often receive less for their efforts than their male counterparts, even when controlling for factors like competence, experience, or education. What’s worse is, women who speak up for their interests are also punished in myriad ways by society for stepping out of their traditional, docile roles.
Time for Change
There is something in our hard-wiring as a society that needs a fundamental change if we are to change this reality. Men and women should be promoted according to merit and not according to what they have in their underwear. If we want to experience full and healthy relationships with our loved ones, and to thrive as healthy, mature, and independent individuals, things must change.
I spoke of two epiphanies- The second realisation I had was the better one. This issue is really, really, solvable. It takes work and self-awareness, and a willingness to change our habits. It is a wobbly process acquiring the tools we should have acquired since toddlerhood, and becoming strong female negotiators. But it is possible, and it is what Women the Workshop is all about.
Follow Women the Workshop here, on Facebook or Instagram, or come to one of my workshops! I will be sharing concrete tools for capability-building, methods for dealing with challenging scenarios, and recommendations for helpful sources of information.
Founder of Women the Workshop