I don’t know, but it might have come from being brought up with a feminist mother and a father who I think have been so concerned with equality that I think he has preferred the weak ones to the strong ones – always. And quite possibly it was like a principle to him. I remember there were times I felt so misunderstood or misinterpreted by for instance teachers at school. I would go home and want my (teacher) fathers opinion, for some strange reason…. He wouldn’t ever take my side…. I think he – probably unconsciously – preferred the real problems of the kids my age. The neglected kids. The kids who showed signs of criminal tendencies. I was a strong girl, and I think he couldn’t possibly believe I had any problems. (And looking back now, I realise I probably didn’t. Not real ones anyway…).
I also remember his constant arguments in politics (he had a political career), mostly with conservative politicians. Right wing politicians, mainly men who would protect and support one another and fight for better conditions for strong, rich and healthy people who were already prospering. (At least that’s the story I got). But he was concerned with environmental issues long before the media started to pay attention, and long before anyone would care about the ozone layer, rain forests or climate changes. He took us, his family to Africa for a couple of years, to make a difference for African children, and to show us there is another world out there. I know he has made such a great and profound impact on so many peoples lives, and he certainly has taught me and my children so much.
Yes, I’m quite sure it’s my upbringing that has made me so aware of the differences in life. Aware that I have all the opportunities in the world, while others struggle throughout their life. The differences between being rich and being poor even in Norway, where we might have the best social welfare system in the world. How hard it must be for so many people in my home town, Stavanger, to keep up with everything, all the activities the children want to participate in, all the stuff they want – the new iPhones, Parajumper or Canada Goose winter coats, the LV bags. Still, there is one issue concerning inequality I find particularly hard to cope with right now.
I find it so hard to understand why we are still so far from gender equality in this country. How is that possible? After all those fights, struggles, hard work and determination from all the women, the few men and the idealistic politicians from the 70s, 80s and 90s. What happened once they had done the work? How have we, my generation men and women, how have we taken the opportunities they have fought so hard for us to have? Are we thankful, or even aware of those great opportunities we are entitled to by law?
I’m going to be quite frank and open here. I have worked in so many different teams and organisations. I have been so disappointed too many times, when teams and leaders are reorganized, and s o m a n y t i m e s have I seen strong female leaders having to go, to make way for average men. Why? What do these men – who I think are making the wrong choices – what do they see that I don’t? And why do they not see the same as me? Do some of these women not seem eager enough for leadership? So many stories I’ve heard from female leaders start with a male boss who believe in them. Bosses who almost have to kick them in the butt to make them take that chance. The leap in to leadership. And compared to the men? The male stories are normally more traditional: graduating from school, finding the first job, looking for opportunities (from day 1?) and taking that opportunity without even considering pros and cons. They don’t need the bosses who kick butts. They do what’s necessary for them selves. Lucky them.
I don’t think men torture themselves on thoughts about neglected children, houses and spouses…. Get a grip girls, we have to start doing what we’re meant to do! To be able to do that, you have to get in touch with yourself, calm down, take some me-time and really consider this: what am I doing when I’m happiest?
Think about that. I think about it all the time. Or, maybe not all the time, but quite often 😉 I’m so glad I’ve been introduced to some great thinkers, writers and philosophers who have shared wisdom I can prosper from. I would love for you to spend time on figuring out the Nicomachean Ethics by Aristoteles for instance. I promise you, it takes time, thinking and patience – if you’re like me that is. (Maybe you’re one of those people who just get it right away? Who knows? Anyhow – it is worth while. I promise you 😉 ).
Have a great weekend whatever you’re planning on doing!