Are you being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved?

“We had 11 truly joyful years of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership that I could imagine … He gave me the experience of being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved – and I will carry that with me always. Most importantly, he gave me the two most amazing children in the world…

Dave was my rock. When I got upset, he stayed calm. When I was worried, he said it would be ok. When I wasn’t sure what to do, he figured it out…” wrote Sheryl Sandberg in a moving tribute to her husband.

Dave Goldberg and Sheryl Sandberg

How many women are lucky to have such amazing, empowering and supportive men in their lives? Men, who empower them to achieve their full potential in life and do share the load of less glamorous family chores to support them. Men, who hear women’s voice and treat women’s choices with respect. Men who recognise that “if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve… the achievements will extend beyond those individuals to benefit us all”.

Respect, Give It To Get It

As Sheryl Sandberg points out in her book Lean In, “women still face real obstacles in the professional world, including blatant and subtle sexism… Too few workplaces offer the flexibility and access to child care and parental leave that are necessary for pursuing a career while raising children. Plus, women have to prove themselves to a far greater extent than men do… A 2011 McKinsey report noted that men are promoted based on potential, while women are promoted based on past accomplishments.”

discrimination against women in the workplace

Sheryl also notes that “in addition to the external barriers erected by society women are hindered by barriers that exist within ourselves. We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising out hands, and by pulling back when we should be leaning in. We internalize the negative messages we get throughout our lives… We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve.”

So true. I’ve observed that so often during my University years. While the majority of male students were charging in the exam rooms totally unprepared but still full of confidence, the best female students were spending days and nights preparing for exams, however were still trembling with fear of a failure.

After the exams male students often credited their success to their own innate qualities and skills, while female students often attributed success to good luck.  Interestingly enough, after a failed exam male students were often blaming bad luck, while female students were more likely to believe it was due to an inherent lack of ability.

image

While some women are happy to stay at home looking after their family and children, others might want to pursue career. In both cases they need to have a choice.

Unfortunately, as Sheryl Sandberg points out, while “professional ambition is expected of men” it is “optional – or worse, sometimes even negative – for women. “She is very ambitious” is not a compliment…

Men are continually applauded for being ambitious and powerful and successful, but women who display these same traits often pay a social penalty. Female accomplishments come at a cost….

The stereotype of a working woman is rarely attractive. Popular culture has long portrayed successful working women as so consumed by their careers that they have no personal life. If a female character divides her time between wok ad family, she is almost always harried and guilt ridden…”

While acknowledging biological and some psychological difference between men and women, it is important to recognise that, as Sheryl puts it, “in today’s world, where we no longer have to hunt in the wild for our food”, both men and women should be given a fair chance to make their own choices. ”

However “until women have supportive employers and colleagues as well as partners who share family responsibilities, they don’t have real choice. And until men are fully respected for contributing inside the home, they don’t have real choice either. Equal opportunity is not equal unless everyone receives the encouragement that makes seizing those opportunities possible. Only then can both men and women achieve their full potential. …

Men's New Role as Househusband Challenges Chinese Tradition

We all want the same thing: to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us. If more children see fathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision more options for themselves. Expectations will not be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, and interests…

My greatest hope is that my son and my daughter will be able to choose what to do with their lives without external or internal obstacles slowing them down or making them question their choices.”

Thanks Dave and Sheryl for giving us a real example of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership in which you both were supporting each other in making your choices in life and reaching your full potential.

A photo of Dave Goldberg, the Facebook executive, who died suddenly on May 2, 2015. He is pictured with his wife Sheryl Sandberg. Photo posted by Sheryl Sandberg on facebook.

Are you being deeply understood, truly supported and
completely and utterly loved?

THE END

Image 1: from http://img-hd.com/dave-goldberg/
Image 2: from http://dailytechwhip.com
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mage 3: from http://unitedtruthseekers.com/
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mage 4: from Are You Discriminating Against Women Employees Without Even Knowing It?
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mage 5: from http://what3words.tumblr.com
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mage 6: from http://247moms.com
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mage 7: from http://www.womenofchina.cn
Image 8: from https://queerguesscode.files.wordpress.com
Image 9: from http://www.theguardian.com

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Let’s look for way forward, not who to blame…

From http://off-campus.weebly.com/

As Michael Straczynski once said, “People spend too much time finding other people to blame, too much energy finding excuses for not being what they are capable of being, and not enough energy putting themselves on the line, growing out of the past, and getting on with their lives.”

Considering this general tendency, it does not come as a surprise when we see men being blamed for all problems affecting women.

image

From http://terry73.wordpress.com

Women do have lots of problems. As Sheryl Sandberg points out in her book Lean In, “the blunt truth is that men still run the world. This means that when it comes to making the decision that most affect us all, women’s voices are not heard equally…”

There are lots of reasons for this. “Women face real obstacles in the professional world, including blatant and subtle sexism… Too few workplaces offer the flexibility and access to child care and parental leave that are necessary for pursuing a career while raising children…”

Embedded image permalink

From https://twitter.com/workingmothers1

As the result, the whole society suffers: “The laws of economics and many studies of diversity tell us that if we tapped the entire pool of human resources and talent, our collective performance would improve. Legendary investor Warren Buffett has stated generously that one of the reasons for his great success was that he was competing with only half of the population. The Warren Buffetts of my generation are still largely enjoying this advantage. When more people get in the race, more records will be broken. And the achievements will extend beyond those individuals to benefit us all.”

Men in a boardroomFrom http://www.wemadeit.ca

When asked how American women could help those who experienced the horrors and mass rapes of war in places like Liberia, Leymah Gbowee (Liberian peace activist who won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize) responded with four simple words: “More women in power.” We do need more strong women in power who don’t play victim, who don’t make themselves look pitiful, who don’t point fingers but stand firmly and deal with the problems.

Quote

From http://www.pinterest.com

We do need more women in leadership roles to improve conditions not only for all women and children, but for men as well.

“Why improving conditions for men?” one may ask.

As Sheryl Sandberg points out. “Today, despite all of the gains we have made, neither men nor women have real choice. Until women have supportive employers and colleagues as well as partners who share family responsibilities, they don’t have real choice. And until men are fully respected for contributing inside the home, they don’t have real choice either. Equal opportunity is not equal unless everyone receives the encouragement that makes seizing those opportunities possible. Only then can both men and women achieve their full potential. …

We all want the same thing: to feel comfortable with our choices and to feel validated by those around us. If more children see fathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision more options for themselves. Expectations will not be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, and interests.”

From http://cdn2.thegrindstone.com

Like Sheryl Sandberg, I hope my children will be able to choose what to do with their lives without external or internal obstacles slowing them down or making them question their choices. If they want to do the important work of raising children full-time, I hope they will be respected and supported by the society disregarding their gender. If they want to work full-time and pursue their professional aspirations, I hope they will also be respected and supported by the society disregarding their gender.

From http://d.gr-assets.com/

Let’s look for way forward, not who to blame…

😉

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Do you speak loudly with non-verbal communication?

From http://studentsollution.com

“At a conference I attended recently as a guest speaker I was sitting waiting to address a group of around 300 women. As I watched them come into the hall, I began to take note of the noise they were making. It seemed they were all talking at once. I decided to see if I could focus on just what had them so energised: perhaps they were discussing the world situation on the context of the Iraq war or maybe the political situation here at home. But no, they were talking about which chair they were going to sit in – ‘Hey Mary, let’s go up the front’, ‘Sally, I think we should go over here’, ‘Has anyone seen Jude? She might want to sit with us’, ‘Where do you reckon you’ll hear here better, up the back, or over here?’ ‘Are the seats allocated, do you think? Will it be all right to sit here?’ The discussion continued for several minutes then gradually came to a halt as the women settled into their chairs, checking as they did so that everyone around them was happy with the seating arrangements….

I’m reasonably sure I can guarantee that if 300 men were coming into a hall in similar circumstances, there wouldn’t be one conversation about which chair to sit in. If there was any conversation at all, it would be low level, short bursts of speech and equally short responses. ‘Good game last night.’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘Michael Campbell seems to have hit his stride.’ ‘Yeah.’ But if you actually watched what was going on, you’d see a lot of communication occurring. If one guy wanted another to sit next to him, he’d just nod towards a chair and raise an eyebrow and the other man would know exactly what he meant. He wouldn’t speak; he wouldn’t  need to. He’d just sit down.”

From “He’ll Be Ok: Growing Gorgeous Boys Into Good Men
by Celia Lashlie

From http://2.bp.blogspot.com

Celia’s observation highlights some interesting differences in predominant communication style used within a group of men in comparison with the predominant communication style used within a group of women.

However if we take a closer look at individuals in both groups, we might discover a huge range of communication styles and preferences within each gender. We might also notice individuals of both genders shifting styles dramatically from one context to another.

From https://farm8.staticflickr.com

What is your predominant communication style?

Do you speak loudly with non-verbal communication?

OR

Do you speak silently with words?

😉

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Silent Love…

Silent love…. That feels so much like my dad…

My dad was not mute  – he simply hardly ever talked. I mean, hardly ever talked about things that really mattered. May be, it was only with me. Probably, it was only because of my gender. No, he did not mind my gender. I suspect he simply did not know how to talk to me, because I was of a different gender. All the gender-based stereotypes did not make it easier for him either.

He probably thought (or was told) that women knew better how to bring up daughters, that women knew better what makes girls happy – after all, they are the same gender, they are from the same planet Venus. I wondered about that sometimes. We seemed to be from very different planets with my mum. In fact, at times it felt like we were from completely different galaxies.

Mother and teenage daughterFrom http://www.sheknows.com/

Interestingly enough, it seemed to be obvious to everyone else that I was a true daddy’s daughter from the moment I was born into this world. I looked like him, I saw the world like him, I was quiet like him. Even my hot temper and tendency to over-react or get over-agitated over minor things, I bet,  came from him, as well as my rebellious free-thinking mind.

Daddy-and-DaughterFrom http://www.changeyourthoughts.com.au

 I also never behaved like a ‘typical’ girl. Things that mattered to other girls, like pretty dolls and fancy dresses, were hardly ever touched in my room. Shopping, cooking and girlish chats never interested me either.

In fact, all females in my family were puzzled and not sure what to do with me. My nanna’s announcement on my 30th birthday expressed that frustration so well: “Eureka. Finally I got it – you are simply not a girl. We thought you’ll eventually turn into one once you settle with a family and children. Alas, it only made you worse…”

I could not stop laughing: it took 30 years for the nurture to finally give up on changing my nature…

Агния Барто, Павел Барто - Девочка чумазаяFrom http://www.livelib.ru

Though my dad hardly ever talked, I could always feel a very strong invisible bond between us. Looking back I can clearly see now how much he was trying to do for me, quietly, silently, behind the scene, like a true guardian angel. I can clearly see now, how much he influenced me as a person,  shaping my nature without forcing me into a stereotypical mold. I can clearly see now how we was trying to give me choices in life – choices to ensure I’ll be happy. I can clearly feel his silent love…

From http://www.dailywaffle.co.uk

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Is it OK for all men to be seen as predators?

stereotypesFrom 5 Things To Show That Men Are Daily Victims Of Gender Bias Too

As a society we talk a lot about racism and other forms of discrimination. But when it comes to men and the way they are being stereotyped and discriminated against, no one seems to have much to say.

I was taught from early age to be fearful of men and talk only to women if I needed help. In spite of good intentions of ‘keeping me safe’, that strategy made it only worse by limiting the pool of people I could ask for help when required. In fact, the safest I ever felt as a child was among boys and men.

Father holding daughter at beachFrom Greatest American Dad

For that reason, I get very upset when I come across examples of men being treated as potential predators. Child advocates advise parents to never hire a male babysitter. Airlines are placing unaccompanied minors with female passengers rather than male passengers.

In 2007 Virginia’s Department of Health mounted an ad campaign for its sex-abuse hotline. Billboards featured photos of a man holding a child’s hand. The caption: “It doesn’t feel right when I see them together,” which implies that my dad or uncle could be seen as sexual abusers if they were holding my hand in public when I was a child. How sick is that? What if I gave my dad a hug or a kiss in public, as I naturally did a lot as a child? Or sat on my dad’s lap? What’s wrong with that? Why should children be denied their father’s affection because of someone else’s sick mind?

From http://www.stopitnow.org/virginia

Not surprisingly fathers’ rights activists and educators argue that an inflated predator panic is damaging men’s relationships with children. Some men are opting not to get involved with children at all, which partly explains why many youth groups are struggling to find male leaders, and why there are so few males involved in early childhood education or  teaching in primary schools.

One of my male friends recently came across a lost child in tears in a mall. His first instinct was to help, but he feared people might consider him a predator. So he asked his daughter to comfort the lost child instead. “Being male,” he explained, “I am guilty until proven innocent.”

And that’s not the worst. In England in 2006, BBC News reported the story of a bricklayer who spotted a toddler at the side of the road. As he later testified at a hearing, he didn’t stop to help for fear he’d be accused of trying to abduct her. You know: A man driving around with a little girl in his car? She ended up at a pond and drowned.

Abigail RaeFrom Neglect Ruling in Girl Pond Death

People assume that all men “have the potential for violence and sexual aggressiveness,” says Peter Stearns, a George Mason University professor who studies fear and anxiety. Kids end up viewing every male “as a potential evildoer,” he says, and as a byproduct, “there’s an overconfidence in female virtues,” in spite of disturbing statistics on physical abuse inflicted on children by female perpetrators.

From Messages the Abusive Woman uses to Control her Children

Most men understand the need to be cautious, so they’re willing to take a step back from children, or to change seats on a plane. One abused child is one too many. Still, it’s important to maintain perspective. “The number of men who will hurt a child is tiny compared to the population,” says Benjamin Radford, who researches statistics on predators and is managing editor of the science magazine Skeptical Inquirer. “Virtually all of the time, if a child is lost or in trouble, he will be safe going to the nearest male stranger.”

Society protecting children by treating all men as potential predators is not safe. Just sick.

From Gender and Aggression

Resources:

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Fat Cat in a Hat – What’s Wrong with that?

Lyrics

From MeetVille

Have you noticed how often people are blaming ‘those who are in charge’, ‘the bigwigs’, ‘the CEOs’, ‘the fat cats’ for all sorts of things? I had a few such comments on my blog in recent months, which made me think a bit more about that. Are all ‘bigwigs’ and ‘fat cats’ so bad?

Cat1From FuturityFirst

Stereotyping (i.e. putting people into groups and categories) is based on a normal cognitive process: the tendency to group things together. In doing so we tend to exaggerate:

  • the differences between groups
  • the similarities of things in the same group

Stereotyping

From Stereotyping

I never trusted faceless stereotypes and generalisations when people get assigned to a particular group on the basis of one characteristic or one of their identities. The group of ‘the bigwigs’, ‘the CEOs’, ‘the fat cats’ might in fact include very different people with varied life experiences, values, beliefs and views. Take, as an example, Sir Angus Tait, the founder of Tait Communications and The Tait Foundation that donated millions of dollars over the years to a variety of causes. As Michael Chick, Tait’s former CEO, said: “Angus was an immensely determined yet compassionate man, a great innovator and mentor for so many.” He might have been the ‘bigwig’ in his company but a truly admirable one.

angus-taitSir Angus Tait

The same in the past. Among wealthy people from the noble class there were some who cared about others and were trying very hard to push for changes in the society. In Russian history, there were Decembrists – noblemen united in an attempt to release their motherland from the chains of autocratic oppression, that was keeping Russia in poverty. There were hundreds of them, inspired by the constitutional governments of Western Europe. Members of the aristocracy, they were the first to rebel and attempt to overthrow the absolutist regime of the Tsar. However their uprising was a failure. They were condemned as criminals of the state. Five of them hanged, others incarcerated. More than a hundred sent into exile, sentenced to thirty years of hard labor in the mines of Siberia.

Decembrists’ wives followed their husbands into exile, leaving everything behind: their families, their children, their possessions, their lifestyle. One of these women – Maria Volkonskaya, the quintessence of class, a princess – had a newborn son.  All she wanted to take with her was her little baby – the Tsar did not allow her even that. They were never allowed to return…

If only the Decembrists won on that cold winter day and changed the course of Russian history – then, may be, there would have been no revolution, no civil war, no Stalin, no loss of millions of lives, no floods of blood, no tears and pain… 😦

‘The bigwigs’, ‘the fat cats’ – let’s try to see real people behind all these stereotypes. Some of them might be very bad, but a few might make us pleasantly surprised. 😉

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From Think Rich, Look Poor

Related posts:

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