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Tom Watkins

Tom Watkins

Value and Respect Women; They Hold Up More Than Half the Sky

February 22, 2013

I learned at a young age the strength of women. You see, I am from a family of seven with four bright, strong, talented, capable sisters and an equally competent, now deceased mom. I have learned from all of them over the years. They have helped me be a better man reminding me over the years that God gave me two ears and one mouth so I could listen (to them) twice as much as I should speak…and that I was not the brightest one in our home.

I have also been blessed to work with many extremely talented women over the years in business, education, mental health, government, politics, media, foundations and the nonprofit sector. As a new year begins, I find myself reflecting on the important influence women—both on a personal and professional basis–have had on my life and the world.

Yet, here in America and across the globe, women are still subjected to abuse, often paid less than their male counterparts, and do not occupy leadership roles in the numbers that their competency, skills and numbers reflect. I worry about this issue for my sisters, daughter Katherine (she is so beautiful and smart) the woman I love, and all like them.

Thankfully there are women like Anne Doyle—the author of “Powering Up!” How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders—who speak out about these issues in powerful ways. I have come to know Anne professionally over the years as a keynote speaker, City Councilwoman in Auburn Hills, a sport and business reporter, always an advocate for women, and what is right and just. At a recent speech to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business organization, she laid it on the line when she stated,

“It is clearer than ever that the human family is crying out for the world’s women to step up and lead. Everywhere we look, whether inside the halls of a dysfunctional Congress, as far away as India, where thousands of women just marched to protest the gang rape and murder of a med. student, and Pakistan, where cowards tried to silence a courageous 15-year-old, or as close as an elementary school in a peaceful Connecticut hamlet. It’s not enough to take great care of our own families once we know that millions of children are starving, being sold into sexual slavery or slaughtered in their own classrooms.

Another year has now passed with the collective intelligence of the other half of the human race — female brainpower, perspective and life experience — barely tapped. How long will we wait before millions of women find the courage and commitment to take our rightful places in leadership roles?

Women are:

  • 52 percent of the world’s population
  • Responsible for 66 percent of the world’s output
  • Earn 10 percent of the world’s income
  • Own 1 percent of the world’s property

Men still hold over 80 percent of the most powerful economic and political positions. There is so much wrong with this picture.”

How right you are Anne!

She goes on to challenge women to step up in 2013:

“No one is going to invite you or me to the leadership dance. It’s time to invite ourselves and invite other women. I hope this is the year you’ll: Run for office. Raise your hand for stretch leadership roles. Be a rainmaker for other female professionals. Raise your voice to ensure that women at your company are paid equally with men for similar responsibilities.”

There is a Chinese saying: “Women hold up half the sky.” In reality, it is more.

For your daughter and mine, for our grandmothers, mothers, aunts and sisters, those of us propping up the other portion of the sky need to do our share, as well.

One small way you can make a difference is to give a copy of Anne Doyle’s book, “Powering Up!” How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders to a woman you love, respect and want to see succeed.

Copies of her book are available at: http://www.annedoylestrategies.com or on facebook.

Tom Watkins is the brother of Casey, Edith, Mary and Nancy and the son of Dorothy (Pat) Watkins. He led two major departments of state government: education and the former mental health department. He is a US/China business and educational consultant and can be reached at tdwatkins88@gmail.com

February 21, 2013 · Filed under Tom Watkins

36 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Pan Godchaux // Feb 22, 2013 at 9:08 am

    Thanks. Now pass it on to the other 48%. We all know that the oppressors must come to realize their oppression. But yes, ladies step up and don’t wait to be asked.

  • 2 Greg Thrasher // Feb 22, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Woman especially in America have discounted and margainal since the creation of America . The manner in which woman have oppressed is almost pathological and it has no racial firewall regardless of race, nationality etc.

    Detroit needs a woman mayor as well as the nation. My activism was based upon the foundation created by mother !!

    I admire and salute all woman!!!

  • 3 Jon // Feb 22, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Nice article Tom, it appears you are in touch with your femine side. Women should be paid the same as men for the same job and I agree we need more women in leadership roles in the public and private sector.

  • 4 Leroy Stephens // Feb 22, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Women are essential to the develpoment of the Human Race and I feel that they should be recognized for the vital part they play. Tom thanks for showing your sensitive side to this harsh and unfair issue.

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