There’s an article by Australian feminist Jane Caro that I think about from time to time. It’s about about how tired she is of being asked to be a free mentor over and over and over again. This is, sadly, not an uncommon experience for women and indeed all minority groups, and it epitomises, for me, something I’ve pondered over the years as I’ve created and offered various programs and services.
For a long time I carried a low level of anxiety about charging for anything I offered. There was a deeply ingrained expectation within me that I should give things to people for free – bonuses, additional content, something/anything – not because I thought I was overcharging but because of the conditioning I’ve received – as all women have – which encouraged me to see my value as separate to money. As unrelated to money.
It’s a story that says, ‘Money is over here and women are over there and you can’t ever put a monetary value on a woman’s worth because her primary value lies in what she gives to her family, her children, her husband, and their home. A woman’s value has nothing to do with the economy. It has to do with love.’
A man’s value on the other hand, has always had a financial component to it (at least for as long as capitalism has existed). He not only can, but is expected to negotiate the monetary value of his worth, and as a society we’re happy to pay him accordingly.
Which leaves women in an uncomfortable position. Because at some point, we enter the world of commerce and have to find a way to participate in a system which expects us to act in a fundamentally different manner to the way we’ve been raised. We’re asked to fend for ourselves, claim our value, negotiate our financial worth, set clear boundaries, and receive as much as we give.
These two competing forces – the conditioning of women and the conditions established for success in the workforce – are putting women in conflict. Both within themselves and against each other.
The conflict is particularly stark in the entrepreneurial space, because when you run your own business, you can’t fly under the radar. You have to step forward and be seen to claim your space, and make offerings, and expect to be paid for them.
If you’re also in a position of being a woman selling products and services to other women, you’re in a particularly uncomfortable double bind because;
So, it’s problematic.
Of course, I’m not saying all of these beliefs are conscious beliefs. They’re not. Many of them are deeply unconscious. And that’s the problem. Until you’re aware they’re there, you can’t change them.
What I do know is that until we’re willing to see this double bind for what it is, and take the necessary action to clear the conditioning we’ve internalised about where a woman’s value lies, we will never, ever break through that glass ceiling as an entrepreneurs we’ll keep playing smaller and less visible than we otherwise might.
That’s why we spend so much time inside our signature program ‘Women Speaking Up’ uncovering and releasing unconscious beliefs. Beliefs you carry around about yourself. About other women. And about how much we’re all worth. Without this women simply cannot thrive and the sisterhood as a whole will continue to be less powerful than it could be.
I don’t want that for you, for me, or for the girls and women to come.
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At the School of Visibility to prepare you for visibility, or for your next level of visibility.
We'll support you in releasing resistance, clarifying why you want to be visible, and making a plan for how to be joyously and effortlessly visible.
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