Today I want to spark a discussion about the importance of quoting women.
Because 3 important things happen when we quote people:
First, it elevates them to expert status which gives them credibility.
And when someone has credibility, we pay attention to them more, don’t we? We don’t just hear them – we really listen. And this in turn has a ripple effect. It means that person – or people like them – get paid more money because their work is seen as more valuable than that of others.
Expert status also means we treat people with respect. And for that reason alone, we should begin to quote more women.
Secondly, when we quote women and other diverse groups, it challenges the status quo.
Because we don’t live in a monolithic world. So why should our culture tell only one side of the story?
On the other hand, when we quote women, we challenge the status quo or in other words, the stories we’re told about who we are, where we’ve been and where we’re going.
A third reason why we should quote more women is that it allows other women to see what’s possible.
People naturally want to emulate the behaviours of those who are celebrated and elevated to expert status, am I right? Because these are the individuals we look up to as cultural, industry and global leaders.
And this underlines something I believe in strongly which is that we need to see it to be it. The more we see women leaders, entrepreneurs, speakers, professionals and citizens quoted and their words treated with the respect they deserve, the more we begin to see the possibilities inside our own lives.
After all, if she can do it, so can we, right? So that’s another reason it’s so important to share the words of women -- because it inspires other women to SPEAK.
So I hope you’ll agree with me that it’s important to amplify the voices of women in our industry presentations, in our conferences, on our bookshelves, in our digital communities and on stages everywhere.
And the good news is, we can start today.
Here are 3 tips to help you take action right now -- and they’re all guidelines I follow myself, so I’m definitely practicing what I’m preaching.
1. LISTEN when women speak. Because when we listen, we honour the voices around us
2. TAKE NOTES when women speak. Even if you don’t carry around a notebook, jot down the key takeaways from the conversations you’ve had during your day in a journal at the end of the day. Because you never know when it might be helpful.
3. WATCH FOR OPPORTUNITIES to share women’s words and stories. Whether it’s on social media, in our presentations, our reports, books, podcasts, blogs or YouTube channels, when we celebrate women’s words, we’re also celebrating the value of those words and the person who spoke them.
So in a sense, I’m asking you to become a rebel today. Instead of going with the flow, use the platform you have to share your own voice and the voices of other women – at least as much as you do the voices of men.
And I also challenge you to diversify your quotes with the voices of women of colour, Indigenous women, women living with a disability, immigrants and women of ALL ages, shapes and sizes.
Because when we do, we are telling the world that women’s voices matter no matter who they are. As Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.”