I AM a Powerful Woman

If you know me personally then, you know I am a headstrong, “tell it to me straight” type of person. I’ve always been that way, to the point where me and my mother joke about how headstrong I was as a kid. This strong-willed and determined personality of mine is something I am incredibly proud of and is the one thing pushing me to accomplish my dreams of being a CEO.


When I sat down with my family and told them of my plans to become a CEO, the first thing that they told me was like a sword through the heart: “Kayleigh, you are going to face a difficult time becoming a CEO.” I knew going through six years of college wasn’t going to be easy, that's a given. But what they were talking about was far from the long nights of studying I would be facing. It was the sexism and harassment I would be facing. This is where that strong personality of mine immediately thought that I could just report them or deal with it myself. But the more I learned and read about the stories of sexism, rape, and harassment that women faced (who were on the same path to becoming a CEO as I am) the more I learned, I may not be able to deal with the harsh future of being a woman in power.


The thing about being a woman, is that across the globe, it is universally accepted that sexism exists, no matter how much we try to fight it. I accepted this not too long ago, that I would have a hard time becoming a CEO because someone may not want me there, just because I am a woman.


Along with this sad reality, one thing that has fallen into the common knowledge of women is the wage gap. Before I did any research on the wage gap, I assumed that the gap was smaller than it truly was. I thought that this is the 21st century; women have to be paid the same by now! I was proven severely wrong...In 2020 for the median salary of men and women across the United States is 81 cents per one dollar made by a man [1] I mean, if I am going to be this powerful woman I DREAM of being...don’t I have to be paid the same, first? But even worse, when women try and talk out about this wage gap or even societal problems, women's voices are repressed. “For women, having a seat at the table does not mean having a voice. However, inadvertent, the gender dynamic shutting women down are real...multiple things can be true at once. You can simultaneously like the people you’re working with and still let biases creep in. Rather than outright misogyny, it’s usually cultural norms and gendered messages that subtly and profoundly shape the rules of engagement. Individuals who suppress female speech may do so unwittingly. They may love women; they may even be women. But as a society, we have been slowly socialized over years to discount female expertise and perspectives.” [2]


To understand and resolve this sexism plaguing our country, it starts with a change in society. This large adjustment in society does start small actions though, changes in the home or even in the way you talk with others. Rather than seeing sexism and not saying anything, call it out! Don’t be afraid to step in! You can also post on Instagram, personally, I post about feminism and equal rights to bring awareness to certain problems, like fundraisers. Never stop the conversation about how we can change the world for the better. Even in the classroom setting change can occur, starting with group projects. Far too often are women cut off or talked over. You can change this by being patient and letting everyone speak fairly, no matter gender. [3]

I have already started this change in my day to day life, from calling my male friends out on their sexism to making sure everyone has the chance to talk in group projects at school. Though this change in society may not be instant, it will occur eventually, but it starts with a change in our habits first.


--

Much Love,

Kayleigh <3

Cabot High School Junior

@kayleigh.langston


[1] https://www.payscale.com/data/gender-pay-gap

[2] https://magazine.byu.edu/article/when-women-dont-speak/

[3]https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/2/compilation-small-actions-big-impact-for-generation-equality


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