"If the Golden Rule is to treat people as you want to be treated, the Platinum Rule is to treat people as they want to be treated. If you're truly a global citizen, you have to practice the Platinum Rule." - Denise Meagles
Yesterday was International Women's Day, and the month of March is Women's History Month. How should we mark these two events? How do we adequately honor and celebrate all of the incredible things women have accomplished throughout history, their contributions to human civilization and culture and progress? It's a tall order.
But a different way of looking at this is to ask, why do we need an International Women's Day and a Women's History Month? Is it because in spite of all our smashing of myths and shattering of glass ceilings, women are still not equal to men? Women of color are even more unequal.
At our Rethink with Andi Simon Roundtable which met today, we discussed this and a lot more. I'd like to share with you some of the ideas that were put forth because hopefully they can help us understand how to make the world better, for women, for men, for all of us. Enjoy and please share.
Here are excerpts from our conversation:
Women have lost 5.4 million jobs during the pandemic-induced recession, compared with 4.4 million jobs lost by men. A huge percentage of these people out of work are black and Hispanic women. And the recovery is going slower for women than it is for men. It's just staggering. There's a saying that goes: Other countries have safety nets, America has women. In the US, 40% of the homes are taken care of by a single breadwinner called a mom. And if they lose their job, there's no bread to win. My challenge for myself for this year is to take on a total of 12 mentees, one a month.
If I could speak as a mentee, one thing that I try to do is just be open to listen to another perspective other than my own. I think sometimes you go into a mentor-mentee relationship expecting to hear a particular type of advice from your mentor. And if you don't hear exactly what you want to hear, sometimes you go into defense mode if they have a different idea than what you were thinking. I think naturally, we are protective of our own ideas. And when someone gives another perspective, it may hit the ego a bit. But I think as a mentee, I'm trying personally in my journey to try something that I've never done before.
Three things that everybody has said today that have really spoken to me:
1. Authenticity. I've lived and worked in at least 20 countries and everyone asks me, What's your favorite city? What city you want to live in? My answer is, I want to live in the city of authenticity. Authenticity is the city I want to live in. Authenticity is so important in diversity and inclusion, but you have to authentically mean it, you can't just read a book, you can't just take a photo op. You need to engage the black and brown community in the actual solution and creation of the solution and not be dictating. You have to understand, and the only way to do that is to partner with people from the community.
2. Live by the Platinum Rule. If the Golden Rule is to treat people as you want to be treated, the Platinum Rule is to treat people as they want to be treated. If you're truly a global citizen, you have to practice the Platinum Rule. Because how can you really know how people want to be treated when you're say, a white female American in China. There's no relevance, you have to understand what motivates people where they are.
3. Pushing with a pillow, which is what Andi does. You push softly with a pillow, you don't smother someone with your idea. But slowly, you unveil it to them. And then you make them feel like it's their own idea, which is the best way to do it.
We are in the process of establishing new ways of life and a new social order. For now, this process is risk-filled and unpredictable, especially for women who are major targets of unemployment, financial distress, and front line vulnerability. We don't know how this will develop, but as leaders we must pave the way regardless.
I've been a mentor, an industry leader, for the last 30 years. So now I'm really just trying to figure out where do I go from here? What are my best decisions? I've been in survival mode over the last year, with the challenges that have come with the pandemic. I had 18 employees. Now I just have me. So looking ahead, how do we support each other? How do we help each other? And how do we keep all of the strides we've made as women, particularly as women are exiting the workforce at a crazy pace. I don't want to lose any of that momentum that we've all built for each other.
I almost wish that there was no need for an International Women's Day. Because to me that points out that women need special acknowledgement for our accomplishments. I long for the day when we don't need that, when we are equal with everyone: all genders, all races. It points out that we're still second best, we're still underrepresented, under appreciated, under acknowledged, held back by myths. So I honor it but I mourn that we need it.
Want to join the conversation?
Please join our Rethink with Andi Simon Facebook group! You can do so here. Our Roundtable which has grown out of this group meets every month. Reach out to me and I'll make sure you're included: firstname.lastname@example.org
Useful resources for you to start Rethinking your life
- My best-selling new book: "Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business"
- My award-winning first book: "On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights"
- My website www.andisimon.com
- On The Brink blogs
- On The Brink With Andi Simon podcast
- Podcast videos
From Observation to Innovation,