The Audacity of Comparison Culture

Mass movements have taught us that gender-comparison conjures controversy and cause calamity. Comparisons don’t induce conflict naturally, but they’re not as harmless when implied with bias. In this week’s blog we’re looking at what positive comparisons have done and are doing for women in business; and how “to compare” with both a positive motive and a favourable end-result...

Audit your Audacity

Let’s first unpack the notion of what it means to be audacious and how having audacity sets you apart in today’s competitive communities. Audacity has journeyed a long way through the ages of acceptance and association. Reigning over an audacious trait in your DNA means that you are fundamentally bold and prone to daringness.

“At JA, we believe this is a character trait that all employers across the board should actively be seeking for in new employees.”

Being bold does not mean being reckless. It does not justify being an irresponsible decision-maker. Embracing your boldness simply means that you’re willing to take calculated risks and go beyond what is expected. Isn’t this something we women need to take ownership of?

Rude v Ready

In stark contrast to boldness being harvested as an empowering characteristic, there is also a stigma of audacity being a synonym for rude - which brings us to our point of comparison and the damage it can cause. As women, we tend to look around us for pointers on how to act and react in the professional sphere. We compare our way of doing with the steps that our counterparts took to excel; and we ask ourselves - how do I measure up? This isn’t necessarily detrimental, because we should be able to learn from our peers. A problem surfaces however when we lean on our community of comparison to such an extent that we absorb external character traits and forget about our own unique strengths.

Who-Man and the Testosterone Nuances

The negative association with audacity rears its nasty head when we try to mimic the nuances connected to the assertive methods of men in leadership positions. We end up miscommunicating leadership by easily falling into the trap of becoming brash, cold and down-right toxic in our tone of voice and reactions to standard, every-day-challenges. It is too easy to surrender our integrity in trying to compete by shouting louder, rather than harnessing the power of the intelligent whisper.

“Your authenticity is immediately compromised when you abandon the innovation you could have brought to the table.”

Cure & Caution

How do we practice what we preach and embrace our female voice?

“We start by inspecting our dependence on role models.”

Yes, we need strong, fierce female leaders to look up to. Yes, there is a wealth of lessons we can learn from them, but we should tread lightly when becoming obsessed with the idea of dependence in our frantic search for leaders. Truth be told - we won’t always find an audacious exemplar to illuminate the way to the top.

There is much to be said about the representation of (and lack of) amazingly fearless women in positions of power to serve as leaders. The younger generation should especially steer clear of referring to the absence of female pioneers as ‘a hindrance to break the glass ceiling’.

It is our collective responsibility to showcase and celebrate the resilience of both genders and their achievements in order to inspire a new wave of bold, brave and brilliant thought-provokers, irrespective of their gender.

“So stop staring into the abyss of comparisons and start forging new paths.”

Be the pioneer who creates new discourse where boldness and determination is honored and valued. You don’t need the permission of your pedestal to excel in your current sphere.

Kind Regards Anja Marais Producer & Operations Manager