Book review of Girl Code, by Cara Alwill Leyba.
This wasn’t the book I was expecting – there are a couple of books with the same title about girl coders. This is more about the secret of girls’ clubs. What it does very well is highlight the benefits of being part of a network. One example is Chooks South Australia – a network that aims to address the gender differentials in investment in start ups and social enterprises (Search for ‘Chooks SA’ on Facebook).
The main chapters of the Girl Code book tease out what is a bit different about women in business and how we can support and encourage each other, especially when dealing with the ‘confidence cringe’ that many women have. The format is short interviews with successful American women and their philosophies and lessons.
What women need more of:
Connection and Contribution. We all love to be needed so we each succeed when we help others succeed.
Plus, the Confidence to be who we are. It’s actually harder covering up our quirkiness in order to fit in. Groups can be a safe space to test and confirm that we are okay just as we are.
What women need less of:
Insecurity. No one who is great now, was great when they started.
Excuses. too old, too young, too much this, not enough that. Do what you can now. It’s only discomfort, you won’t die if they say no, so get on with it.
Cattiness and envy. We can have what others are having, we just have to work hard and consistently for it.
Fear. We fear that we won’t be able to cope but we can, we are women!
My new take on the Helen Ready Anthem:
We are women, watch us soar, in a flock that’s too big to ignore!
Thanks to Anne Wilson Schaef for her call to all of us, especially women, to participate more in creating a society that we want to live in.
When I joined the Royal Australian Air Force, women couldn’t be pilots, so I got into logistics. One of the female engineers won the right to fly just after I graduated, by taking the Air Force to the Discrimination courts. But she could only fly the transport aircraft. It’s taken nearly three more decades to earn the right for Australian women to support our country (if they wish) by flying fighter jets.
While this is an extreme example, I’m regularly disappointed when I see conference panels with no female face. A recent Talented Women blog by colleague Kiri Stejko reinforces that we want to cheer our female peers when they do something ‘unusual’ like fly a plane, but it would be so much better to consider it normal, not unusual.
I think Sheryl Sandberg has it right. It is our collective responsibility to put our hands up and encourage our female peers to ‘go public’. We need more women to sit at the table, get on the panel, give a talk, write a book. Show other women it is possible and allow us to hear the views of ‘the other half’ of the working population.
Make sure you attend an International Women’s Day event this March 8th and then challenge yourself to ‘put up your hand’ and make sure your voice is heard or read, sometime during the intervening 364 days of ‘normal’ events.
So pleased to see Michelle Payne’s winning ride today in the Melbourne Cup and her stirring words:
“its such a chauvinistic sport…I just can’t say how grateful I am to them and I just wanted to say to everyone else you can get stuffed, because they think women aren’t strong enough but WE just beat the world”.
It’s International Women’s Day and what better way to acknowledge inspiring women than to Join the Australian Women Writers 2012 Reading and Reviewing Challenge. Even though I’ve given the competition a two month head start I think I can aim for the Franklin-fantastic level and read at least 10 books this year and review 4.
Of course I am a dabbler so I will be reading across genres from fiction to business and I look forward to exchanging book reviews and finding out about the many women writers with whom I am yet to be acquainted.