ONE FOR THE LADIES All the career-driven and successful women out there, David Smiedt raises his glass to you.
There are certain nonnegotiables in any relationship: Abuse and intimidation of any kind, obviously. But I’d like to offer another. In 2016, it’s beyond passé that any man should be intimidated by a successful woman, especially one he’s lucky enough to find himself in a relationship with. Allow me to present an example that’s close to home. My wife not only earns more than I do, but has achieved accolades across an array of industries that I will never scale, all while being paid less than I would be if we were doing exactly the same job. On top of this, I have never caught a glimpse of myself reflected in a glass ceiling or dealt with a colleague looking down my top during a presentation. My point is, anyone whose masculinity is challenged by the achievements of a woman needs to check himself before he wrecks himself. It’s a notion as outdated as fax machines or Mariah Carey, and shouldn’t be indulged or compensated for under any circumstances. So keep setting the world on fire, and find a man who is happy to bask in the glow; because believe me when I tell you that they are out there. I am certain of this because I am one.
But I’ve also noticed another common trait with female hotshots. They do it all with a sense of grace that’s not apparent in the male achiever. Whether it’s Oprah, Sheryl Sandberg or Aung San Sui Kyi, there’s invariably an element of grace in their actions or words. (Hillary Clinton not so much, but look who she’s up against!) In addition to this, they seem to undertake their paths with a tip of the hat to generations of women to come, a solidarity that’s safe in the knowledge that although they may be trailblazers now, a flood will follow. One need only look at the redress taking place in once maledominated fields such as medicine, law and technology. Is there still work to do? Hell, yes, but the times they are changing, and for the better. The devil ’s advocates among you may argue that many successful men have also enriched their communities. What’s the difference? Glad you asked. The female pioneers tend not to wait until retirement to take on a charitable project. They step sideways into NGO and community service roles sooner and more decisively. And seemingly with less need for recognition and acclaim. To bring it back home, my beloved went from a multinational media company to one which helps young people in rural communities create more sustainable agriculture. She’s just one of the many, many, many women who achieve in one sector – against greater odds than men face – and then parlay that success into something greater than themselves. And for that alone, you deserve the respect, praise and adoration of men still eyeing off that corner office.