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Keep Shining: Michelle Obama’s Message to Professional Women

by | Jan 12, 2021 | Productivity, Diversity, Life, Features, Career

Over the last 50 years, women in the United States have made great strides in their careers. There are more than 33 women who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Women have made substantial progress in legal, medical and engineering professions.

Despite this progress, there is still a bias in the way female professionals are viewed by male colleagues. In many instances, men find it difficult to recognize a woman’s achievements. As a result, many women face gender bias in the workplace.

Any Woman Can Experience Gender Bias and Sexism

Dr. Jill Biden is just one of many professional women who have had to defend their accomplishments against sexist comments. Recently, John Epstein wrote an article titled “Is There a Doctor in the White House? Not if You Need an M.D.”

In this op-ed, Mr. Epstein questioned Dr. Biden’s right to use “Dr.” before her name. He asserted that she shouldn’t use the title if she isn’t a medical doctor. He further minimized her credentials by mentioning the age at which she earned her doctorate and the lack of prestige a doctorate holds.

Michelle Obama’s Message to Professional Women

Many people were outraged by the article. This includes former First Lady Michelle Obama. She posted a message on Instagram in defense of Dr. Biden and professional women. Here are a few takeaways from her comments.

1. Professional women can successfully manage more than one responsibility at a time.

When it comes to getting things done, women are brilliant multi-taskers. We can manage our households and build fulfilling careers. Juggling career and family responsibilities isn’t an easy task. Know that you have what it takes to achieve your personal and professional goals.

2. It’s common for our accomplishments to be met with skepticism.

Try not to take it personally when someone questions anything that you have achieved. A snide comment about your career may be directed at you. But your professional accomplishments aren’t the problem. Here are a few ways to handle this issue when it happens to you.

  • Trust yourself.
  • Develop emotional resilience.
  • Respond in a professional manner.
  • Remain confident.

As a professional woman in a male-dominated industry, you may be required to prove yourself at each stage of your career. You shouldn’t let it prevent you from being all that you can be.

3. Women must lift each other up when others tear us down.

As you rise to the top of your profession, you will encounter people who try to diminish your worth. Some may imply that you don’t deserve a promotion. Others may take actions that attempt to hold you back from future achievements.

It’s important not to allow these challenges to prevent you from celebrating another woman’s success. Encourage other women as much as you can. Provide constructive feedback when necessary. Help other women reach their goals.

Always remember that shining a light on another woman won’t dim your light. Gender bias may be a reality for years to come. However, you can keep shining no matter what challenges you face.

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