If you’ve ever watched the semi-finals or finals of the World Championship of Public Speaking, you’ve probably wondered why most of the competitors are men. Toastmasters is full of female speakers and leaders, so why aren’t more of them on the world stage? My theory is that shame plays a major role.
How many women don’t compete because they want to avoid feeling like they have been shamed publicly? How many women don’t put in the blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to win because they can always fall back on the excuse, “I was only doing this for fun or to learn. I don’t care about winning.”?
If shame holds women back, how do get more women to compete? Brené says that shame flourishes in the dark corners of our mind, but shame dissipates when we bring it into the light and talk about it with someone we trust. When I shared my feelings with a close Toastmaster friend, she showed me how hard I was being on myself, and she helped me find the courage to get on stage and do my best. I hope that as women, we can share our stories and encourage each other. Perhaps through those stories, more and more women will be inspired to take that courageous step into the light. You can check out Brené’s speech here.
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Post by Marin Gemmill-Toyama