The Way to Gender Equality is through Public Speaking with Carol Cox (#IWD): Podcast Ep. 267

The Way to Gender Equality is through Public Speaking with Carol Cox (#IWD): Podcast Ep. 267 | Speaking Your Brand

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Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. This year’s theme is Break the Bias. 

I appreciate that on the IWD website, they write, “Celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility, while calling out inequality, is key.”

In this episode, I share the premise of the book I’m working on around the importance of women being public speakers as a way to advance women in leadership and gender equality and a new model of public speaking.

What if I told you that the key to being more confident is not what you’ve been told in the myriad of women’s leadership and personal development books you’ve read?

Well, at least it’s not the whole story.

Sure, what those books have taught you about getting clear on your goals, asking for what you want, taking action, and striking a power pose in the bathroom before an important event are helpful.

But, they stop short of what’s critical for building true and lasting confidence. These books tiptoe around it by encouraging women to speak up and to raise their voice, but the advice is generally limited to asking for a promotion, contributing ideas at a meeting, or pointing out unequal treatment at work.

What they miss is that the act of public speaking (the right to have a public voice and {safe} access to the public sphere) is what fundamentally shapes our individual identity and who we can become as leaders, as changemakers, and as citizens.

Listen to the episode to hear more.

 

About Us: The Speaking Your Brand podcast is hosted by Carol Cox. At Speaking Your Brand, we help women entrepreneurs and professionals clarify their brand message and story, create their signature talks, and develop their thought leadership platforms. Our mission is to get more women in positions of influence and power because it’s through women’s stories, voices, and visibility that we challenge the status quo and change existing systems. Check out our coaching programs at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com

 

Links:

Show notes at https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/267 

Sign up for our free Choosing Women’s Voices challenge: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/challenge/ 

Join our Thought Leader Academy: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/academy/ 

Schedule a consult call with us to talk about creating your signature talk and thought leadership platform: https://www.speakingyourbrand.com/contact

Connect on LinkedIn = https://www.linkedin.com/in/carolcox

 

Related Podcast Episodes:

267-SYB-Gender-Equality.mp3: Audio automatically transcribed by Sonix

267-SYB-Gender-Equality.mp3: this mp3 audio file was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the best speech-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors.

Carol Cox:
I believe that the way to gender equality is through public speaking. What does that mean? Listen into this episode of the Speaking Your Brand podcast. More and more women are making an impact by starting businesses running for office and speaking up for what matters. With my background as a TV political analyst, entrepreneur and speaker, I interview a coach purpose driven women to shape their brands, grow their companies and become recognized as influencers in their field. This is Speaking Your Brand, your place to learn how to persuasively communicate your message to your audience. Hi there, and welcome to the Speaking Your Brand podcast. I’m your host, Carol Cox. This month, the month of March is Women’s History Month, and today, March 8th. The day that this episode airs is International Women’s Day. The theme is Break the Bias for International Women’s Day this year, and on their website, they explain that celebrating women’s achievements and increasing visibility is key while also calling out inequality. And I’m glad that they balanced both things. I think a lot of times when we’re we’re looking at Women’s History Month or International Women’s Day, we tend to focus on empowering women, celebrating women, lifting women up, and I am 100 percent all for that. But we also have to recognize the systems and the structures that are perpetuating inequality. And what are the things that we can do to advance women’s leadership and advance gender equality. So that’s what I want to talk about in the episode today. What I’m sharing with you is the premise of the book that I’m working on.

Carol Cox:
If you’ve been listening to the podcast for the past few months, you know that I’m currently working on a book proposal which will eventually, of course, turn into me writing the entire book. So I really want to share with you on this podcast along the way during this year. The idea is that I’m working on because it helps me to literally talk them out loud in addition to writing them on the page. And also, I would love to get your feedback, whether it’s from the post that I do on LinkedIn regarding the episodes that I’m sharing, or if you ever want to just send me an email about what you’re learning on the podcast, I always love to hear from you. My email is Carol Cox as Speaking Your Brand. Now let’s get on with the show. What if I told you that the key to be more confident is not what you’ve been told in the myriad of women’s leadership and personal development books that you’ve read? And I’ve read a lot of them, and you probably have to. Well, at least it’s not the whole story. Sure, what those books have taught you and have taught me about getting clear on your goals, asking for what you want, taking action and striking a power pose in the bathroom. I have definitely done that before. An important event are helpful, but they stop short of what’s critical for building true and lasting confidence.

Carol Cox:
These books tiptoe around it by encouraging women, encouraging us to speak up and to raise our voices. But the advice is generally limited to asking for a promotion, contributing ideas at a meeting or pointing out unequal treatment at work. What these books miss is that the act of public speaking the right to have a public voice and safe access to the public sphere is what fundamentally shapes our individual identity and who we can become as leaders, as changemakers and as citizens for way too long. Those rights and privileges were restricted to white men and our patriarchal society, the dominant gender men and race white limited access to speaking in public to themselves. Why? What was the big deal about women and non-white people speaking? Because by its very nature, that act of public speaking conveys authority, credibility, influence and power. It can change and has changed the world. When you think of a public speaker who comes to mind. Close your eyes for a moment if you’re not driving. And what’s the image that pops into your mind? Is it a charismatic figure holding court on stage to his enthralled audience of hundreds or thousands of people? Is it a politician trying to persuade voters with his carefully crafted stump speech? Is it an executive hoping to rally his employees at the organization’s annual conference? What do all of these examples have in common? First, for many of us, the person who comes to mind is a man for that’s who we’re used to seeing in those positions.

Carol Cox:
And you notice I deliberately use the pronoun his when I was describing those various options. Second, those examples are what I call the old traditional way of public speaking, hierarchical one way an ego based speeches that are all about the speaker having the answers with the audience there to passively receive. But there’s a new and different way we can approach public speaking one that’s inclusive, two way collaborative and relational with speeches that ask the big questions that need to be asked and encourage audiences to be part of the experience. I am sure you’ve heard the saying that most people would rather die than give a speech now. Of course, I’m not one of those people because I enjoy public speaking, and if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably enjoy it or at least have an interest in public speaking. But I’ve always wondered why is it that people have such a fear of public speaking? And it may be that this old traditional way of public speaking, very one way very ego based, literally the spotlight is just on you as a speaker may just be off putting to a lot of people. Whereas if we think about this new approach to public speaking when that’s inclusive, collaborative and relational, perhaps more people, including more women, would be interested in being public speakers. The other reason I think a lot of women have a fear of public speaking is not necessarily because of them as individuals, but because of the generations of women that came before them for centuries and millennia.

Carol Cox:
Women were silence. They were not seen as are allowed to be public speakers until the early 20th century, just about 100 years ago, with the suffragists who took to the streets and the podiums to make the case for the right to vote for women. Well, at least for white women. Women were rarely allowed to address the public, and when they did, they could be arrested or at the very least heckled off the stage. Why were women’s silence for so long? Simply put, we live in a patriarchal society that has privileged men over women and white men over everyone else. Anything that seeks to disrupt this hierarchy is seen as dangerous, which includes speaking up and speaking out because women are not who the patriarchal system was built by and built to benefit. And this is even doubly so for black women and women of color. As women, we can see the gaps. We can see the cracks late the code in the matrix that’s revealed to those who recognize we’re living in a constructed system. In fact, this patriarchal system was constructed specifically to diminish the value and exclude women. The default voice became that of a man, and a woman’s default voice became silence. Women have been taught to discount and dismiss their experiences, their stories and their voices. Remember the mythical story of the sirens who would sing songs to lure sailors as they went by and Homer’s Odyssey? Odysseus famously ties himself to the boat mast and instructs his boat men to close their eyes as they pass the sirens so that they too don’t get lured by the song of the sirens and meet their demise.

Carol Cox:
Why were women’s voices portrayed as destructive? Not because men were impervious to desire that’s on them, but because when women speak up and are heard, they can disrupt the social and political order. That’s the power that women have the challenge and change the status quo. I believe that is through seeing and hearing more women as public speakers and more women having safe access to the public sphere that we advance women in leadership and gender equality. What’s at stake is fundamental to who women are as individuals, equal rights and equal citizenship. As more and more legislative bodies around the U.S. in the world seek to limit women’s rights, which has been the inevitable backlash to women gaining more rights and having a public presence and a public voice in the past few decades. Now, more than ever, we need to stand up, speak up and claim our place on stages in the media and at executive leadership tables. As more women are starting businesses running for office, getting promoted into the C-suite and speaking up for what matters, they’re facing the backlash that comes from challenging the status quo and reaching for positions of power. This backlash seeks to silence women, whether it’s chants of lock her up or death threats for the women who were at the center of Gamergate.

Carol Cox:
This attempt at silencing whether it’s actually achieved or not impacts other women impacts us who see this and decide they’re better off. We’re better off staying quiet. The result? Fewer women with the public voice and public presence, and more outspoken male voices that beget even more male voices and a vicious feedback loop of popularity that keeps the top charts of books, podcast keynote stages and new shows dominated by men. I like to say that the solution is as easy as doing that power pose, thinking positive thoughts and then telling it like it is. But it’s not as much as I’d like to think of myself as an empowered woman. I falter at times to stand up, speak up and claim my own place. I see now what I was missing at those times and what is women. We need to do both individually and together to make this possible for my background in politics and on TV, to my studies of women’s history, to the public speaking coaching work I do with women entrepreneurs and professionals of Speaking Your Brand. I’ve experienced and witnessed the confidence and the transformation that comes from women becoming public speakers, as well as the sexist criticism and backlash that too often results from women having a public voice. This is why I believe we need a new feminist model for public speaking so that we can truly advance gender equality. Here’s what you can start doing now.

Carol Cox:
Number one, listen to more women’s voices. Take a look at the podcast that you listen to the audio books that you listen to, the reporters and journalists that you follow. How many of them are women? If you find an imbalance, then seek out women, host and start following them and listening to them. We did a challenge back a couple of years ago called choosing women’s voices. You can still sign up for the challenge. It’s five days of emails that you receive to take a look at podcasts, books, TV shows, et cetera. You can sign up for the challenge by going to Speaking Your Brand challenge. Again, that’s Speaking Your Brand challenge. So that’s number one. Listen to more women’s voices. Literally, the voices that we hear in our heads affects how we see who has authority, who has influence, who has power. Number two, pitch yourself for speaking and media opportunities even when it feels scary, especially when it feels scary. When I first started doing public speaking and going on TV, it felt scary. It felt nerve wracking. I was definitely nervous. I promise you, it gets easier the more you do it, and we need more women out there pitching themselves and going on stages, going on the media and whether it’s virtual or in person. Number three, recommend other women, especially black women and women of color for speaking and media opportunities. Lift up those other women. Suggest them for panel. Suggest them for events and conferences, either where you’re speaking or perhaps you’re not available to speak and even organizer or reached out to you.

Carol Cox:
Recommend another woman again, especially black women and women of color who don’t necessarily always get those same opportunities. And number four, build your support system. I talked about this in last week’s episode on how I found and use my voice and how critical having a support system is when you’re putting yourself out there with a public voice and with the criticism and backlash that may result from it. This is why I created our Thought Leader Academy and our Advanced Catalyst Collective programs to give women entrepreneurs and professionals like you a place to work on your thought leadership message, create your signature talks and put yourself out there in a bigger way. You can get all of the details about our Thought Leader Academy and apply today by going to Speaking Your Brand academy. Again, that’s Speaking Your Brand Academy and the next few episodes of this podcast. You’re going to hear from some of the women who’ve recently graduated from our Thought Leader Academy at this episode resonated with you. I would love it for you to share it with a friend. You can text them the link right from the podcast app that you’re listening on. And also you can share it on social media. I hang out on LinkedIn. You can find me. There’s a link in the show, notes to my LinkedIn profile. Or do a search for Carol Cox on LinkedIn. Until next time. Thanks for listening.

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