|"We Can Do It". This World War II poster of "Rosie the Riveter" encouraging women to join the workforce was the epitome of a woman's strength and determination.
You've seen the image: a woman wearing a red bandana and rolled up blue shirt sleeves sporting a fist and exclaiming |
It was a time of deep crisis that opened unprecedented doors for millions of women that have never been shut. America experienced an amazing workforce shift that set in motion a new level of women's personal identity and business contribution. And it's happening again.
More than 6 million women became welders, electricians, mechanics, boiler makers, streetcar operators, bus drivers, chemists, physicists, journalists, secretaries, federal government workers, and more for the war effort. Although about half of these women left the workforce when the war ended, the number of working women was still much greater than before the war began - and has increased every year since.
Just being given the opportunity to expand their skill and knowledge gave women new confidence. "I had the chance to prove something, and I did" said Rachel Wray about her experience as a riveter at Convair Aircraft, the prototype poster model. When that happens, there's no turning back.
In 2012 women will officially outnumber men in the workforce. Never since World War II have women had more opportunities to advance in business and make a difference. However, not just because of our numbers. But also because while today's economic climate is challenging for even the best companies, with those challenges come opportunities - opportunities women can use to prove themselves (and their worth) and to rise to business world rock-stardom.
The biggest hurdle preventing many women from such success: a lack of "We Can Do It!" Rosie the Riveter confidence.
Whatever challenge you want to tackle, from leading to handling conflict to being taken seriously, there isn't a problem out there that can't be solved-or at least helped-by starting out with more confidence. Personally conquering "the confidence divide" will be a key difference between having a job and mega success, between getting a paycheck and making a difference, between middle management malaise and true executive performance.
Today's organizations need confident women leaders now more than ever. As a woman you have many strengths and talents that are perfectly suited to answer the challenges our modern economy keeps throwing at us - from leading others through change to building productive relationships throughout the company to taking on more responsibility - but only if you have the confidence to put your ideas into action and inspire others to follow suit.
How do you conquer the "confidence divide"? By deciding that now is your time to step up and into this moment. By believing that you have the capabilities and strength to seize the opportunity. And by deliberating learning new skills to fill in the gaps, just like the millions of 1940s women who took on roles they likely never imagined.
Will you join me? Will you be among the women who believe it's time for an updated poster that reads "We Can Do It -- Again!"? Let's make a difference - together!
To start your 2012 strong, join me as I share specific skills and strategies you can use these strategies right away in your day-to-day work when I host The Confidence Divide: Tackling the Challenges Women Leaders Face in Business on January 18, 2012.