The lowdown: Reshma Saujani is questioning the status quo in her book, encouraging females to get in the driving seat.
Introduction: We live in a society that has propagated the assumption that women should be pleasant and perfect, not causing a stir. Anything more than this, and a woman is tagged as “b*tchy.” This has caused many women to be people-pleasers instead of taking risks and being assets to their communities.
Reshma Saujani cites the study done by the University of California, where salt was used to make lemonade instead of sugar. Unsurprisingly, the boys expressed their opinion about the disgusting drink while the girls politely drank them. When they asked the girls why they did not complain, they said that they did not want the researchers to feel bad.
Three valuable lessons that I learned from reading this book were –
- Perfection won’t help you get ahead.
- Daily bravery challenges help build you up.
- Strong women communities help build strong women.
Lesson 1: Perfection Won’t Help You Get Ahead
Perfection, for all its worth, is not what you need to get ahead in what you truly desire. It only makes you thrive in the box that you have been put you into. Perfection can make you do a great job in a career you hate. It takes bravery to stop the rut, and change course in the right direction.
It took courage for Reshma to quit her job in corporate law and run for congress. And even though she fell on her face, she learned that the only people who never fail are those who don’t take risks. With this lesson learned, she picked herself up and took on another project to make the change she wanted in the world, hence her foundation – Girls Who Code.
Lesson 2: Daily Bravery Challenges Help Build You Up
Reshma is no stranger to having unpopular opinions by society’s standards. Her TED talk called on women to be brave. Even though she got widespread support, some people came for her about how bravery was an inherently male trait. Maybe someone needs to remind those ones to come out of their caves once in a while and experience the 21st century.
It takes a lot of effort to be brave, but small things like speaking your mind at a meeting and asking for critical feedbacks build up your tolerance to face the world outside. Also, make sure you get enough rest and take care of yourself because being female and brave can get exhausting.
Lesson 3: Strong Women Communities Help Build Strong Women
Shalane Flanagan was the first female winner of the New York City Marathon in forty years. She inspired a movement of female athletes who work together and support one another. Together, they form part of the world’s best long-distance runners. It helps to know that you are not alone in the fight in a world where it is commonplace to see women talk behind each other’s backs and manipulate themselves.
My Personal Takeaway
After I read this book, I learned that girls are raised differently from boys. They are taught to be people-pleasers and perfectionists that are ill-equipped to pursue their dreams. These values hold them back in their domestic lives and careers. The only way to cause a change is to change something, and in this case, it is swapping perfection for bravery. Taking risks and having a strong community behind can be the difference.
Put into Action
- Keep your tank full.
- Take daily bravery challenges.
- Join a group that supports dreams and goals.
- Take a risk.
- Allow yourself mourn after failure.
- Review the process.
- Reassess through the eyes of a third person.
- Realign to your dream and go again.
This book is useful to every female, parent, sibling, co-worker, and essentially, anyone that has social interactions with a female. The world is a better place when everyone pulls their own weight.