As a women entrepreneur, I have witnessed many moments where a woman’s worth is based mostly on having a husband and children. That identity usually comes before any other deserving accolades. This happens at conferences, workshops, award ceremonies in the workplace and social gatherings.
Yet, I do not seem to remember the last time a man was introduced as the husband of so and so or the father of a certain number of children. How we are described may determine how we are remembered. And yes, most women value their role as a nurturing mother and partner, but should it take center stage when it is not their whole worth? Not being honored for their special talents and accomplishments in life quite frankly comes down to disrespect.
Highly Accomplished Women
I’ve been witness to a panel of highly accomplished women that included a popular news anchor, author, and an astronaut. Yet, each of these women was introduced as a wife and mother before the mention of their expertise. This type of devaluation happens often when women are described professionally. In many cases, their career accomplishments and success evaporate when they are connected to a man.
It is important to recognize the effect language may have on career advancement, especially with women. One study found the language used to describe a women’s accomplishment in academia can influence hiring decisions.
As accomplished women, we have a right to be addressed in our industries by the highest level we achieve. That begins with us making sure we override the gender biases in the workforce.
Respect and honor are attached to the recognition of a person’s hard work and career placements. And women, for the most part, have had to work extra hard to obtain that kudos…because often she has also had to do it while being wife and mother. So perhaps we should all pause and take notice of how we introduce ourselves and the women around us. And start with the successes and titles we have earned.