by Jedidah Taylor, Managing Editor

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Compass the world’s borders, and one thing will always stay the same — the gender gap. In western society the “equality to all’ sets an illusion that women no longer face discrimination for their feminine qualities; however, discrimination is stronger than ever. Historically, women have garnered discrimination whether they were denied the right to vote or judged for their style of dress; now subconsciously, employers pay women less in the workplace, and women’s intelligence is measured by their clothes being too uptight or too provocative.  As women fight their way through this obstacle, they are increasingly gaining power. A feat in itself, but as power increases, women find the struggle of asserting their power increasing. While men are rewarded for assertive behavior, women are penalized. The slightest show of female societal power becomes slashed as the “angry women” syndrome. In order to express yourself without becoming a doormat, it is critical to work on your delivery –the goal is to be respected, and with respect, other relationships follow.

  1. Practice how you speak. Learn how you respond to crowds and high-pressure situations if you train yourself to speak in low-tones in a confident and slow manner you are more likely to have effective communication with authority.
  2. Posture is important, sitting and standing upright demands attention. The way you carry yourself is one of the first things people will notice about you; it states you have respect for yourself and others should respect you accordingly.
  3. Be yourself. Do not apologize for the request you make, you make them with good judgment. Do not ever question yourself because others will question your abilities too. Remember, your first intuition is usually correct.
  4. Use your emotional intelligence, not intellectual intelligence. Not everyone has the same education level as you or understands your methodology. The best leaders step back and read the audience they must guide before acting on any terms. Use filtered messages, allowing yourself to be direct with different types of people. The foot-in-the-door phenomenon, if you start off with a request within reason or “not such a big deal” to your audience, you are more likely to get them to follow through with bigger requests later on.
  5. Make clear what role you play in any group or organization. If you are held in any position of power it needs to be asserted from the beginning; the workplace is not centered on making friends, and boundaries must be set.
  6. If boundaries are crossed let it be known. “I” statements are the best way to make important points known. Do not be afraid to tell peers how you feel. Using ‘I” shows possession of the situation and that the consequences directly affect you –you mean business, and you won’t stand for it happening again.
  7. Have an outside voice of reason. Sometimes we become bias and the best way to handle a situation is simply by stepping back. Contact an unbiased, trustworthy person and explain to them your dilemma the best of your ability; then have them decide whether your response is appropriate.  
  8. Lastly, remember, you contain your own beauty, you control your own power, and you are your own woman.