Recently an opportunity presented for me to take a deeper look at whether I was living gender equality in my day-to-day life as a woman.
As women, not only is it important for us to invite men to step up and look at these gender equality issues in a non-imposing, non-judgmental way, it is equally important for us to invite ourselves to step up to living this gender equality also.
Therefore I asked myself:
“Do I always live this gender equality that has been known in my heart as an irrefutable truth?”
The answer is “No”. So no matter what I see in the world today, and not depending on how the world responds back to me, can I commit to consistently live this truth, starting with myself?
I started to consider how I could truly live gender equality within myself:
- Even though I am equally committed and devoted to the work that I do as any male counterpart, I had been setting my prices well below what my male colleagues were charging. I have now revised my prices by feeling what I am truly worth. Honouring my true worth as a woman has completely changed how I feel about myself, and how I hold myself as a woman in the workplace and in life.
- I had believed that if I did not put in the same long hours as men do or approach a job competitively, then I could not reap the same results or be respected equally in my career. I now truly value what I bring, having a young son to look after and having a full-time career at the same time. Through being asked to be equally present and focussed with my work or at home in the kitchen with a very hungry child, I know that I am ready to engage with presence and focus in any new spontaneous situation.
- I realised that I was still holding myself back in how I was expressing with males at certain times – there was a reservation on my side. Holding back as a woman with men is holding myself back as a human being. Ultimately it is a holding back of all women and all men. For example, I now commit to looking men in their eyes equally to how I naturally hold my glance with a woman I meet on the street or in the elevator. I don’t dress differently when it is men I am meeting, no matter who they are, expressing what my heart feels exactly, in all vulnerability and power, in all silly-fullness and seriousness. The freedom experienced in not holding back is simply amazing.
- When I have been with men in friendly and professional settings I have had the expectation of being treated with more care and attention, like gentlemen treat women. But if I’m honest, I had not been consistently treating myself with deep care and love, so that lack of worth towards myself is what men have been reflecting back to me. When I stop expecting men to act in a certain way and then feel hurt when they don’t, I start living the preciousness of the woman and the human being I am. Responding to the preciousness I feel within me stops the need to be rewarded by something outside of myself. How a man chooses to act does not determine how precious I am.
- As a woman I had accepted that in male/female relationships I had to give more, understand more, allow more and accept more compared to my male partner. When I stop hanging on to the belief that men cannot be as understanding, allowing, accepting, or giving because of their past hurts, what I allow is a much greater love to be expressed; and men meet me back with constant beautiful surprises confirming that they are everything I know them to be.
Having said all that, I’m coming back to a deep knowing that men are made of the absolute same essence and sensitivity as women are, and that there is no difference in our ability to feel. As women and as men our love can only be true when we begin to accept and live this knowing.
Indeed, if as women and as men we now take responsibility without delay and live and express the love that we are, then we are truly here for each other. Gender equality is what we know to be truly true between men and women: it is the true relationship between men and women that can be lived.
By Adele Leung, Image director, Hong Kong