Step up and speak up!

Business Chicks and Women's Agenda are working together to counter the bad week that was Donald Trump winning the US presidential election. They asked women to #stepupandspeak with notes of encouragement for women. Here is mine.

It’s been a couple of weeks since I woke up to a snow covered landscape (being an Aussie currently living in Harrogate, UK) and a new President in the United States. Neither were expected. One was certainly not appreciated!

I guess I had my head in the sand (or snow as it may seem) over Donald Trump becoming President. I don’t consider myself passionate about politics and the campaigning that goes on to choose a new leader, but I am passionate about authentic and ethical leadership and doing the best for a country and its people. Therefore, I couldn’t imagine anyone voting for a person (man or woman) with so little regard for inclusion, diversity and well, humanity, whatever your political leaning is.

I know that political races become the worst kind of slinging matches with the US Election circus providing the worst examples of people with money and power behaving badly, and the worldwide media machine reporting every detail. Was it really important to know that Melania Trump wore a pink Gucci “pussy-bow” blouse to the second presidential debate, and what subsequent meaning this might have? As much as I love fashion, this was rubbish journalism.

I never thought that Hillary should win because she’s a woman. I didn’t and I don’t, even with my heart desperately wanting to see a woman, and a woman with such grace and strength, leading the free world. I thought she would win because of what she believed in and how she wanted to lead one of the world’s most important economies.

Alas, Trump will take the US Presidential oath in January 2017. I am so disappointed with the outcome for the US and the world, even if he is just one man.

It makes me stronger in my resolve to help women be strong and independent. We must not bow out of the workforce when things get tough. We must not use having children as a way out of the current difficulties in the workplace, even when we earn significantly less than our male counterparts. We must not give up our income and financial independence, and rely on (usually) men to provide for us. We must step up.

Women have to vote. We can’t be like the 49% of Americans who chose not to. And how do we vote? We vote by staying and fighting to progress our careers. We vote by bringing our voice and our passions and our unique viewpoint to our communities and our organisations, and to politics. And we vote by fighting to support other women as there is strength and support in numbers. We have to continue the fight that Hillary started in the most public way possible.

I wish it wasn’t a fight. I wish it wasn’t a war, but we are not alone. We must step up and be amongst the beautiful men fighting along with us, and loving us. Our fathers, and husbands, and sons and work colleagues and friends. But we must vote by speaking up. We must vote and not lose momentum.  We must step up and speak. Love must trump hate. It just has to.