The feminist movement launched and blazed by Gloria Steinem transformed the lives of a generation... and the generation after. Women learned to believe in who they were, and I was one of them. As a modern career woman, I've raised my hand, sat at the table and leaned in long before it was a rallying cry.
If feminism is about gender equality, then it's time to redefine roles for both women and men. Modern Fe-MEN-ism is the new feminism. So what does Fe-MEN-ism mean, exactly? It means inviting men to have a seat at the table and opening up the conversation to include them. It means bringing men into the fold so that we can succeed on a global scale. It means making gender inequality a social issue rather than just a female issue.
Now, reaching out to men does not mean that we are not capable of affecting change ourselves. But it does mean that we have to recognize the importance of activating change beyond the people who already walk with us. Remember: Widening the circle doesn't dilute the message, it makes it even stronger!
Let's take a step back and really look at the equality conversation. What we're solving for isn't a "female problem." It's a people problem. If a woman doesn't achieve her goals because of her gender, shouldn't we all be upset? If that's the case, then I say it's time to redefine the debate for today's world. And that's why I'm proposing a new vision: Fe-MEN-ism. I'll be unveiling this movement with the girls at The Ipsos Girls' Lounge, the fastest growing networking space for women, at the Consumer Electronics Show this January in Las Vegas, NV. We'll be curating a conversation about this new direction and how we can activate change at every level.
Emma Watson's United Nations speech about gender inequality, and the introduction of the #HeForShe campaign earlier this year ignited social media -- and with good reason. Sharing the responsibility of equality does not mean we're giving up ladies, it means we're GEARING UP for the Fe-MEN-ist movement. To appreciate the talent, drive, intelligence and thousands of other qualities that make women amazing, we have to give men the chance to see it and to celebrate it. If we're talking about equality, we have to practice what we preach and foster a collaborative energy that has you advocating for me, me advocating for you and us advocating for we.
So, if the goal is a symbiotic culture, then we should trust men and work to make a difference together. Here's how:
• It starts at home - redefine roles and responsibilities. The shift is toward equal parenting. Mom may or may not be the primary caregiver -- both men and women are capable of supporting their children -- and not only financially, but also emotionally.
• Advocate for each other - don't make it a woman thing -- make it everyone's thing. Work/life balance is a challenge for everyone. Let's face it, we have one life with many dimensions and want to do it all. Help each other make it happen. Cover for one another. Share the load. Have no regrets.
• Balance for talent, not for gender-Men and women are equally important, we're just different. Discover what makes you special and celebrate your differences. Mix it up. Multi-faceted teams are great for business.
• Inspire the next generation- If we don't do it, who will? Start a new conversation and activate the changes you want to see. Champion change, break down silos and create new rules that work for everyone.
In short, stop admiring the problem and intentionally interrupt. Fe-MEN-ism starts with you.