I started facilitating #IamRemarkable workshops for a diverse, amazing group of women, initially as part of my way of celebrating International Women’s Day - dedicating a part of my time shedding a light on the unconscious biases and norms that need to be broken; and helping women shed a light on themselves - their strengths, their unique stories, their life accomplishments. Since then, I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the learning experience we all get to have together and have decided to continue this effort throughout the year.
#IamRemarkable is a Google initiative empowering women and underrepresented groups to speak openly about their accomplishments in the workplace and beyond, thereby breaking modesty norms and glass ceilings.
There are couple of things I personally took away from these workshops:
Equal treatment and having access to equitable opportunities is a journey and a global challenge that needs to be looked at systemically. While there is work we can do as individuals, for ourselves and for others, we also know that societal/cultural expectations, and broader systems and processes need to adapt with the times too.
Achieving true diversity and inclusion will always be an ongoing journey. We recognise that individuals, societies, companies and organisations have a journey of their own and the issues faced by one, might be different from issues faced by another. It’s important to respect and acknowledge that unique journey, as long as our end goal is clear and supportive.
The workshops also highlighted the dual opportunity available to us: (1) the opportunity for us to build our confidence, and discover and articulate our value; and also (2) the opportunity to pay attention and create moments of learning for others. For example, respectfully questioning an assumption that a manager makes about what a new parent can/should do when they return to work, or offering a person who is translating their message in their minds because they don’t speak the same language as the majority, an extra minute to express themselves, instead of just moving on. Allyship and advocacy of others are just as important as building our own confidence and competence.
I also recognise how a topic like this plays out differently depending on our individual life contexts - as a student, as a talented individual striving to find their next job, as a new entrepreneur, as an established career professional, as a dedicated parent. Self-worth and self-belief matter regardless of circumstance, and it’s not static. It ebbs and flows as we deal with life challenges. Our ability to stay resilient and resourceful are crucial to ensuring that our wellbeing is maintained at an optimal state.
I am incredibly grateful to all the participants for coming in with an open mind, and with the courage and generosity to exchange insights and experiences. Facilitating is so much easier and absolutely more fun with such a great group!
To learn more about this worksop initiative, visit g.co/IamRemarkable