Hearing the call: A new era

9 years ago I sat in a performance review with my boss and listened as he told me that if I wanted to get anywhere in my career, I was going to have to “be more like a man”.

I was appalled. I spoke to the HR department only to be told that I must have misheard him.

7 years ago I sat in a department meeting (different company) and watched as the CEO told my female colleague that she “should focus less on which shade of lipstick to wear” if she wanted to compete with her male counterparts. I watched her fight back the tears as another male colleague snorted with laughter.

6 years ago I suppressed my rage when I was told to ‘turn on my womanly charm’ in order to land a new contract.

These things might sound trivial but the truth is, they are indicators of a deeper issue — an issue that, even now in 2016, still rages on.

Sure, we need to celebrate how far we have come but let us not forget there is still work do. It’s time to rise up and finish what those who advocated before us, began.

Last week, like the rest of the world it seems, I was shocked to my core by the result of the US election. I woke up to the news that a man who admits to sexually assaulting women and then shrugs it off as “locker room talk” is the new so-called ‘Leader of the Free World’.

20 years ago, maybe… but NOW?

Brexit. Trump. This is not simply about politics.

These are the final threads of the patriarchy, and they are unravelling. All that we have known before is being revealed as flawed and ineffective in this new age.

One thing I do know for sure is that we are being called to rise.

This is our wake up call.

It’s our call to stand up for what is true and right. To declare that #itsnotok

It’s our call to use our voice and declare that we matter.

It’s our call to rise up in leadership and nurture kindness, tolerance, and respect.

It’s our call to advocate for those who are not able to advocate for themselves.

It’s our call to practice courage.

It’s our call to consciously create our own life.

It’s our call to unite.

This is the call to shine even brighter and love even harder.

“They tried to bury us. They didn’t realise we were seeds” — Mexican Proverb

We are entering a new paradigm, one where we are rebuilding our world from the ground up. It’s no longer enough to post inspiring quotes to social media — we actually need to be the change.

We need to be the lightworkers, activists, change-makers, visionaries, healers, peacemakers and bridge builders.

We need to pave the way for the next generation of change. To help our children to inherit a world built on equality, respect, empathy and kindness.

The time of observing from the sidelines is over. We can no longer afford to subscribe to the belief that we are powerless to create the change that is needed.

Be the leader you need to be in your own world.

As a parent, teacher, friend, lover, business owner, employee, writer, woman, man. Let your life be the message.

Hear the call.

Join me for more essays and resources at www.gemmasands.co.uk

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