How Do You Go Forward After a Bruising Election? #IPledgeParity
“Victory is not final. Defeat is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.”This quote is misattributed to Winston Churchill.
But whoever said it was right. Having been through many wins and losses, I can vouch for that. I offer it as balm if you are pained by the election results and as caution if you’re pleased with the outcome.
This too is true: Take The Lead’s nonpartisan mission of leadership gender parity by 2025 has become more important than ever, as many of you have said to me since November 8. People are talking about it in every workplace and gathering place. Even the most skeptical are seeing that young women and people of color are terrified. The world they’d come to think is post-racist, post sexist, is neither.
CEO’s are acknowledging leadership and pay disparities that could affect their daughters. Instead of celebrating breaking that highest, hardest glass ceiling by the first female American president, we know how much work remains to be done to give every girl and woman a fair chance to reach her full potential.
As Forbes contributor Denise Restauri said to me, “Gender parity is in a different league now. I think many people heard the talk, but didn’t really hear it. Now everyone is talking about it (often differently) and others are listening differently.”
For Clinton supporters who ask what do women do next, I challenge you to talk, plan, understand, strategize, commit, and hold yourselves accountable. We have a template for you to use to help you get started.
Having lived most of my life in red states, I know you can make progress toward gender parity when your team isn’t in power. Or, another way of saying it is that even when you think you don’t have power, you do—if you have the wisdom to see it and the courage to use it. Don’t go into bunker mode, think big and bold.
Gather 10 friends for tea, dinner, or drinks. Have the conversation. Being together with my friend Victoria Pynchon and a dozen friends to answer the question, “What are you going to do now?” helped me start focusing on the positive, and to realize the enormous opportunities that arise in such moments of extreme change.
But don’t stop there. Take notes and share your plans with our community here. Learn from each other, act —individually or as a group, and build a movement to critical mass.
For Trump voters who say you aren’t racist or sexist, I challenge you to oppose the negative consequences of the ugly campaign rhetoric. I remember when the Republicans were the leading edge for gender equality. It’s up to you to move the party back there.
Read and heed diversity and inclusion expert Verna Myers’ call to action. To her spot on advice, I’ll add that if you voted for Trump and you believe in respecting women and gender equality, then you have work to do to set an example to your children and the community: to advance women’s leadership in your company and your home, to teach your sons and daughters that the objectification of women will not be tolerated, and that sexism in any form is simply morally wrong.
It’s up to us as women, whoever we voted for, to set the tone. Fortunately, as I teach with my leadership Power Tool #4, when you embrace controversy instead of backing away from it, you create a platform for better understanding and resolving disagreements. And in chaos (that’s Power Tool #5) is always the nudge to think differently, to create new solutions.
Dr. Nancy O’Reilly, founder of WomenConnect4Good, says, “Women (and I’m sure she’d include men who share these values) are better together. When we collaborate, we strengthen not only our intentions, but our power to make positive change in the world.”
Victory is not final. Defeat is not fatal. When we muster the courage to continue, the way forward is ours for the making. #IPledgeParity
About the Author
Gloria Feldt, Co-Founder and President of Take The Lead, is the author of No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power. She teaches "Women, Power, and Leadership" at Arizona State University and was named to Vanity Fair's Top 200 women Legends, Leaders, and Trailblazers.