What is your trigger?
When I travel around the world, I meet incredible women. Many have taken up the challenge of going beyond the barriers that were defined and set for them by society. I always wonder, what happened? Why did they decide to become leaders, to be unique, to stand out, to go beyond the comfort zone. When society assigns you a role, the easiest thing is to stay in it, to do as you are told, to behave as you are expected.
So, more than 15 years ago we decided to start researching what we called the “triggers”. What happened in the lives of those women and men? What sparked the change? We wanted to know if we could replicate their “triggers” as part of our work in promoting more equitable communities.
I share with you some of those triggers and how we developed some of them in concrete actions in our development work.
I learned to talk in public when I was young. A lot of the women who are leaders learned this skill when they were young, for example they participated in plays in their schools, they sang in chorus. The final result of these type of activities is that they learned to face an audience. Aware of this, we started developing the capacity of girls to speak in public in our projects, and we all had a lot of fun!!! We did drama, singing contest, and debates. As time has passed, some of those girls are still the leaders in their communities.
My father taught me….. We encounter hundreds of women around the world who were and are doing what is considered “man’s” work. One characteristic that a lot of them share is that their fathers taught them how to do mechanics, to weld, to do finances and “numbers”, or to manage cattle. Conscious of the power of knowledge, we have been promoting father-girls’ field days, during which a man teaches his daughter a non-traditional skill. We have done this the other way around as well, mother and boys’ days.
Meeting a role model….. So many men and women shared with us the fact that their most important trigger was meeting an outstanding woman or man. For some of them it was a person like a peace corps volunteer or a teacher…. So in our projects, we make sure we invite, as well as provide access to, exceptional people to engage with the younger generations.
What were your triggers? I invite you to share some of them with us?