Managing Partner, Shadow Lake Group Inc
In early February, Yoshirō Mori — President of the Organizing Committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games — complained that meetings tended to drag on because the “competitive” women in attendance “talked too much.” Public backlash to his comments caused him to resign shortly after.
Mori’s remarks are evidence of the lack of value and respect for the female perspective and voice that much of society still holds, and his high-profile resignation is an opportunity to promote dialogue around the ongoing biases that are hurtful to all genders. We need to begin prioritizing open, clear, and honest communication in business by addressing four key areas:
- The lack of respect and value for voices, skills, approaches, and perspectives that are considered to be traditionally feminine.
- The social discomfort that prevents the exhibition of traditionally masculine traits or positions of power by women, and vice versa.
- Men not understanding what it’s like to be discriminated against based on your gender, nor the long-term implications such treatment can have in terms of mental health and self-esteem.
- The treatment of women in the workplace, in particular when it comes to the expectation that they’ll settle for less-senior roles and responsibilities than they’ve rightfully earned.
It’s a well-accepted concept that discussing opposing viewpoints and perspectives often leads to the most innovative and effective results. If we really want to progress and succeed, everyone needs to be invited to the table — and more than that, everyone deserves the chance to contribute. Let the women speak.