This week we invited our local Gutsy Girl Club for a visit. At Elūm we believe in empowering women and raising fierce and fearless girls, and we wanted to show these amazing young women-in-the-making what we do here. The girls spent a delightful day printing posters, learning how our letterpress machines works and visiting with our staff. We hoped to inspire them by showing how a career in the creative arts can be fun, collaborative and rewarding. Turns out they inspired us with their confidence, curiosity and smarts. The Gutsty Girls reminded us to celebrate and champion ourselves as women. And with that, we have created our manifesto for women and girls.
Every woman has the right to decide how she lives her own life. At Elūm we believe you can be a pilot and a president, a mom and a mechanical engineer, a surgeon and a chef, an exotic dancer and a wrangler of exotic birds. Multifaceted and multi-talented is the new normal. Girl power is about expanding our choices as women, not taking any away.
My success as a woman does not lesson your chance of success. We are no longer competing for a single seat at the table. We’re claiming the entire table, executive chairs and all. The more we empower other women, the more we empower ourselves. Success is not a limited commodity. It is not a competition. Success generates more success. Celebrate fellow women’s achievements and let them celebrate yours. When you succeed we all succeed.
Prioritize yourself. As women we are taught to look after everyone, ensuring everyone’s emotional and physical needs are met before we consider our own needs. Recognize that if you want to achieve your goals and dreams, there will be times you need to put yourself first. Don’t apologize for them. Looking after yourself is a necessity not a luxury.
Own your opinions. Your thoughts and ideas have value. You are entitled to have an opinion. Speak out. Speak boldly. Think for yourself. Argue with clarity and assurance. Learn to respectfully disagree without apologizing for your knowledge and passion. Your beliefs and experiences as a woman are valid and valuable, and you connect with and empower other women by sharing them.
We are fantastic female machines. We have ovaries and wombs capable of creating life. We have 11% more neurons in areas of the brain dedicated to language and hearing than men. We have better night vision, better visual memory and perceive colors more vividly. We are more highly educated and live longer. Women are emotional, intellectual and physical powerhouses. We take care of the world.
Expand your possibilities. Exceed expectations. Expect recognition and rewards for great work, and if you don’t receive them, demand them. Demand the job, demand equal pay. Partner with other women to create opportunities. Hustle. Mentor a future boss girl. Be a force in your community. Celebrate and empower your girlfriends. Start a business and show the world how it’s done.
Respect your body. Nurture, exercise and rest it. Feed it lots of fruit, vegetables, complex carbs and lean protein. Treat yourself well. Set boundaries and clearly communicate them: No one is allowed to touch your body without your permission. Comments about your weight have no validity unless they come directly from a medical professional. And no one gets to decide how you dress and style your hair and makeup, only you.
Mistakes teach us success. Making them means we’re learning, growing and living. In her inspiring commencement address to the Barnard College class of 2018, US Soccer superhero Abby Wambach tells us, “Failure is the highest octane fuel your life can run on. You gotta learn to make failure your fuel.” Learn to fail like a man. Think of failure as an opportunity to start fresh with new insight into what it takes to succeed.
Elūm is a company of fierce and creative boss girls. We celebrate our strength and the strength of women around the world. At Elūm we believe every woman has a voice. We support and empower women, and believe every woman has the right to create beauty, success, family, community and love in her life.
No is the most powerful word in the English language. Learn how to say it. Don’t feel guilty for using it when friends, family or coworkers ask too much of your time and resources. If anyone tries to persuade you to change your mind, remember “No” is not the beginning of a negotiation. It is the end. No does not require an explanation or apology. Saying no with grace and authority is a woman’s secret weapon: it demonstrates her self respect.
Take the lead. You don’t need someone to give you the lead. You don’t even need to have the lead. Lead from where you are. Lead from your desk, in meetings, over the phone, in your car and in your home. Leaders take responsibility. They motivate, coordinate, and help others succeed. They get the job done. Women do not need titles to lead. Communicating clearly, inspiring trust, sharing our vision and taking action: we’ve been doing that all along.