Last night I had the opportunity to speak to a group at the National council of Women of NZ. I was asked to be a part of a panel of speakers to the theme of women in interesting jobs but unfortunately due to illness I was the last woman standing! This meant that I wrote my key points into a more formal speech, and discussed the themes of women in workplaces as well as just my own experiences.
I agreed to pop my speech up on the blog and to link to the themes that I spoke on, to allow people interested to explore these themes at their leisure in a more in-depth way.
Ireally didn’t know what to expect but had been given a heads up by Julie, who knows I have a terrible sweary mouth on me, that it was a more conservative group than let’s say the libraries panel I was on discussing a fortnight ago, on sex and literature!
At the start of the meeting my support buddy and I were introduced along with a few other visitors, and then the members stood and identified themselves, I only got more nervous. Representatives were present from a wide range of women’s groups, from different generations of feminism, and multiple branches of different types of church.I was SO out of my depth here.
Shaking in my boots, I was petrified that I would be “teaching them to suck eggs.” Many of these women were of the generations where ANY out of the home work post-children was sticking your neck out; my little struggles in a volunteer role, and success at work weren’t worth a mention. I thought to myself perhaps at least I might offer a little clarity into the theories behind the experiences.
As I started speaking, my first comment about not feeling qualified to speak to the room got a lot of laughs, and when I asked if anyone else had felt that “imposter syndrome” most of the room sheepishly raised their hands, and then roared with laughter and a quick chat with the person next to them when they realised they weren’t alone.
I suddenly realised that what I could provide with my talk was a reminder that although we are still fighting similar battles, we are fighting it together, with wonderful communities. The experience of feeling like we have stepped beyond where we “should be” was a shared one between generations.
Once the speech was done, questions that came from the group were fantastic, and it was a real privilege to be able to have a cup of tea and chat one-on-one afterwards.
Some Imposter syndrome articles
The Glass ceiling
Dunning and Kruger.
The Glass elevator is an initiative designed to contribute to increasing the number of women in senior executive positions.