GLS18 Session Notes–Danielle Strickland–Better TogetherPublished August 16, 2018
We’re at a strategic intersection where relationships between women and men is eroding. There’s a global movement of women telling the truth and exposing the pain of sexual harassment. And maybe it’s reached a tipping point. And I say, “Thank God.”
I believe the truth will set us free.
The normal knee-jerk reaction is to deny, or to avoid or to blame. We want to find someone to blame as if the problem is outside of us.
But for those of us who want to be transformational leaders, this is an opportunity to create a different world – one where men and women are better together.
Story of Swedish woman who tackled prostitution. She said two things were necessary for mass social change:
1. Being able to imagine a better world.
2. Being able to understand oppression.
Story of Danielle’s son starting kindergarten. He made up a story about being in a go-cart race, that the go-cart turned into a motorcycle and he won a big trophy. He wanted to live a better story.
We all want a better story.
Women and men are better together. In Genesis, God made a man by himself in charge and he says, “This is not good.” So, God created the women “Ezer” (savior, tutor, helper) for man. The world will work better with both women and men together.
1. Believe it’s possible.
- A McKinsey Report suggests that if women were added to the workforce, it would add $12 trillion to global economic growth.
- Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammed Yunus discovered that women’s empowerment was the key to a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.
- Believing it is possible means we have to refuse despair. We need to challenge the status quo.
2. Do not be afraid.
- 2/3 of women are not optimistic that gender equality can be achieved in the next five years. 30% believe it is impossible altogether. Why? Fear.
- In Exodus 1, Pharaoh had enslaved the Israelites. The verse says, “Because Pharaoh was afraid, he oppressed them.” If we are fear-based, we will either be oppressed or an oppressor. Fear is the currency of oppression.
Seeing difference through the eyes of fear is a threat. But seeing difference through the eyes of faith is an opportunity.
- Difference and Mutuality are essential for better working relationships:
- Difference. To be human is to be unique. When we over-emphasize one difference above others, it leads to distortion and stereotypes. Seeing difference through the eyes of fear is a threat. But seeing difference through the eyes of faith is an opportunity.
- Mutuality. Mutuality is the sharing of feeling or action or relationship between two or more parties. We need each other: your success is linked to my success and your failure is linked to my failure.
- Sex and Power are the enemies of mutuality in women/men relationships.
- 35% of women globally have experienced physical or sexual violence.
- 1 in 4 North American women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime.
- 1 in 6 internet searches are for porn.
- 1 in 5 mobile searches are for porn.
- 60% of men admit to viewing porn at least once per week.
What happens to the way you view gender if your lens objectifies women? Pornography is a source that needs to be confronted by a generation that is not afraid.
- Power is the ability to influence the behavior of others or the course of events. We all have power and influence. We need to take a sober look at how we use the power we have.
How we use our power is the measure of our leadership.
- Coercion and Threats vs. Negotiation and Fairness
- Intimidation vs. Non-Threatening Behavior
- Emotional Abuse vs. Respect
- Isolation vs. Trust and Support
- Minimizing, Denying and Blaming vs. Honesty and Accountability
- Economic Abuse vs. Economic Partnership
- Make Privilege vs. Shared Responsibility
Great leaders use their power to empower other people.
Great leaders use their power to empower other people.
The story of Mary and Martha is about women’s empowerment. Our example is Jesus who gave power away. He invited women to be a part of the Kingdom of God and to dismantle the old systems of injustice/ prejudice/ sexism.
3. Start now and start with you.
Story of HSBC Bank in Canada. They were losing women in middle management. A survey revealed that the bank’s inflexibility around work schedule did not make it attractive for women to return. So, they found solutions with technology and day care – and actually implemented them. For seven years in a row, they were named to best company to work for.
- If you find yourself in boardroom of people who look and act exactly like you, it’s time to find some new voices.
4. Never, ever, ever give up.
- Achieving gender balance is a long-term objective that requires constant progress. Real empowerment is a long walk in the same direction.
- Story visiting Robin Island Prison. The tour guide, a former prisoner, said, “The hardest thing about my experience was leaving it.” On the island, he learned a better way of life, but leaving it meant going back to real life.
I’m dreaming that leaders in this cultural moment will imagine a better world where it is possible for women and men to be better together.
*Disclaimer: GLS18 Session Notes are only available in the United States*
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About the Author(s)
Danielle Strickland is currently based in Toronto, Canada. She loves Jesus and she loves people. She is the author of 6 books with her most recent being Better Together: How Women and Men Can Heal the Divide and Work Together to Transform the Future. She is host of DJStrickland Podcast, ambassador for Stop the Traffik, as well as the co-founder of Infinitum, Amplify Peace, The Brave Campaign and the Women Speakers Collective. Danielle is a mom of 3, wife to @stephencourt and has been affectionately called the “ambassador of fun.”
Years at GLS 2016, 2018, 2019