When Gayle Tzemach Lemmon speaks, I listen. And so should you. Recently, we introduced you to her TED Talk, one of the absolute best TED Talks we’ve ever seen and truly a battle cry for women everywhere to be “Examples, Not Exceptions.” Her advice is steadfast, her perspective is refreshing, and she truly has a handle on what women must do to get ahead and change the landscape.
Lemmon’s new article in The Atlantic is revolutionary. She posits that we need to tell our next generation, our little girls that they can have it all – even if we believe they can’t. That we should tell these little girls they absolutely can be everything and anything they want to be, even if our judgement and feelings are colored by the fact that we’re frustrated by our own fears and difficulties.
Powerfully, she says:
The reality is that many young women (and, for that matter, older women) still see ambition as a dirty word. It’s a word they whisper conspiratorially to the like-minded, not proudly shout out loud. And this is a problem for all of us, because we need their drive and aspirations in a world where women account for less than 5 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, 20 percent of Congress, and 15 percent of major firms’ board members and still make up a scare minority at most gatherings where real power is centered.
So let them be ambitious, these little girls, and encourage them to want to have families if that’s what they so desire. Give them the tools to succeed and the love to spread and the belief, from their mothers, their grandmothers, their aunts, and their teachers that “having it all” is not only possible, but admirable.