With the recent passing of Women’s Equality Day, I took the opportunity to speak with some incredible women on their motivation, inspiration, and how they feel about Women’s equality thus far.
Founder and CEO of Nursepreneurs, Catie Harris, gives great insight on what equality means to her, and how she supports other women.
What does equality mean to you?
When people talk about equality, there is an assumption that they mean leveling the playing field. However, I don’t think that is either possible or desirable. We all have unique experiences that are drastically different and valuable in their own rights. On one hand a person might have an advantage, such as a middle class upbringing, a happy family but have poor work ethic whereas in other areas a person may have suffered abuse or hardships, but have learned resilience. To me equality isn’t about averaging out those experiences, but leveraging them. If a job requires a certain skill set, then equality would search for the mix of life experience and expertise that would best serve in that situation. In the traditional sense of equality, people try to pick the right mix of race, ethnicity and gender. For me, equality is defined in what it’s not. It’s not choosing people based on personal characteristics, but rather looking past them.
For women, I think equality means being who you are, and being chosen for what you bring to the table rather than being chosen because you fit the “right mix” of personal characteristics.
Who are some women that inspire you?
The type of women who inspire me use all the attributes of being a woman. I see too many women who enter business and try hard to act just like men. But the truth is women lead differently and there is emerging research that shows that women led businesses are more successful. Women are more collaborative, work together and search for solutions where everyone wins. I work with women like this all the time. They may not be nationally known but they inspire me everyday.
What are some ways that women can show support to one another every day?
Women can support each other’s businesses, volunteer in mentorship programs that support women businesses and remind each other of the amazing masculine and feminine qualities that we have.
How did you celebrate Women’s Equality Day?
I celebrated with my mom and sister!
What do you love most about being a woman?
I love that as a woman I can have all the human experiences. I can be tough and hardcore, yet I can be nurturing, caring and vulnerable. In our society, men are expected to keep their feelings to themselves, and this is a huge problem for all of us. As women, we can express our feelings and work through our problems. I can’t imagine all the anger and frustration I would have pented up without being able to share it with my girl friends.
How do you spread girl power?
I think girl power is about sharing time with your girl friends, and being a “girl” friend to men as well. I work with nurses in business and 90% of my students are females, so just working with them on a daily basis and mentoring them through the process is one of my favorite ways to spread girl power.
What are some of your favorite woman-owned brands?
Of course, some of my favorite woman-owned brands come from my nurses.
Kimble Walters from Elite Concierge Nurses – elite nurses after surgery plus IV hydration
Gwen Jewell from Bedsore Rescue – award winning patent pending turning wedges that prevent pressure sores
Lolita Korneagay from Cansoom – cannabis consulting company
What does the future of women’s equality look like to you?
The future of women’s equality is women choosing to do what they want and not fulfilling roles “expected” of them. Hopefully one day we will look back on Women’s Equality Day and say “I can’t imagine living during a period in time when such a day was even necessary.”
What advice do you have for other female entrepreneurs?
My advice is to understand that many of us grew up with preconceived notions of what women can do. Have the courage to break through these preconceived notions and create something new for our own girls growing up. Starting a business can be scary, so find yourself a successful mentor, someone who has done what it is that you want to do and work with that person – male or female. Just stay true to your own self.