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  • Emily Hoong

Power to the women

In the many years we have used our Values model, we have noticed that Power holds very negative connotations, at least in the Western world. When we ask people which value they reject, it’s almost always Power. It’s perhaps because of the inequalities we see being perpetuated by the most influential. Today as we celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to subvert this and show that the combination of women and Power can be positive, and at the same time celebrate their Achievements.

We’ve all heard of the powerful and accomplished women – Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Ellen Degeneres. These are high-profile women with lots of media attention, money and clout. But we shall also not forget the ‘smaller’ wins, ones that may not typically feel like Power or Achievement at first glance but are certainly as important in moving society to be a more equitable place.

Gamers or those interested in gaming will have heard of PlayStations’ Horizon Forbidden West, which launched earlier this year. With gaming feeling inundated with male characters, it’s refreshing and empowering to see Aloy, the female protagonist in the game. She has in many ways been treated and celebrated as a real person. There’s a statue (albeit temporary) of her in Italy to highlight the country’s lack of representation of famous women. She also appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair – the first fictional character to do so.

Speaking of fictional female characters, chances are that most of you recognise Sherlock Holmes more than Amelia Butterworth. Author Anna Katharine Green created Amelia Butterworth and it was her that Sir Arthur Conan took a lot of inspiration from when creating Sherlock Holmes. But with a lot of things, recognition has been paid to men. To balance this inequity out, Sara Paretsky pays homage to Green in her book ‘Love & Other Crimes’, telling the story of where Butterworth ‘out-sherlocks Sherlock’ or should it be ‘out-butterworths Sherlock’? This is a great example of allyship where women who have the means, lift up other women.

Anna Sorokin and Elizabeth Holmes (we thought it was important to include examples of real women!) are not classic examples of Power and Achievement. Sorokin is a convicted con-artist and fraud – she swindled banks, hotels and friends. Holmes created medical company Theranos which offered faulty medical technology. We’re not suggesting these women are icons people should look at but these elaborate scams require prestige and brains; you can’t deny that these women aren’t influential and intelligent. What they have done is not entirely ethical but can you blame women for secretly feeling proud that they are able to outsmart people and break assumptions of what women are capable of?

Today we encourage you to tell a woman – whether that be your mother, sister, or colleague – how proud you are of their Achievements and give them some Power. Here’s to all women; all those whose gender identity encompasses womanhood.

Until next time,

Emily (Research Manager, OMTM)

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