ONE FOR THE LADIES All the ca­reer-driven and suc­cess­ful women out there, David Smiedt raises his glass to you.

CLEO (Malaysia) - - YOUR LIFE, YOUR RULES! -

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.

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