The Path of the EdSHEro
“And though she be but little, she is fierce.”- William Shakespeare
I am a new mommy of an incredibly curious, brave, and happy 14 month year-old daughter. I wish I could continue to keep her experiencing the world this way. However, I know as a minority woman innovating and trying to make a difference in the world the journey is extremely difficult, often mean, and in some cases dangerous. That is why it is no surprise that the research has found that few minorities and women pursue STEM careers and those who do often quit. To ensure my daughter continues her journey to brilliance, I know passion and intelligence isn’t enough. She will need resilience, fierceness, and continuous support and mentorship from other women. Below is the description and my slides for my keynote, A Rock and a Diamond: The Path of the EdSHEro, where I share ideas for raising resilient and fierce girls who share their brilliance. This keynote was for EFL Talks: Inspiring Women in ELT conference.
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Raising Resilient Women
- EdSHEro- /ˈedSHēˈhirō/ Inspired with Sarah Thomas (@Sarahdateechur) to recognize the women who transform education with their passion and resilience.
- Diamonds are formed in the Earth's mantle under intense heat and pressure. Passionate women who want to shine their brilliance must be fierce and resilient because the journey is never easy. Passion and determination isn't enough. We need to be share with our younger generation of women the pressures and situations we faced and how we overcame them.
- We also need to make the current situation better for the next generation of women who are meant to shine. We need to advocate. Movements like #MeToo and groups like EVE, The Fair List, the Women in ELT Facebook group, and the Women in TESOL Facebook group are necessary. We need more.
- We need to share our stories of overcoming the heat and pressure as well as reaching out to others we see going through tough transitions we've experienced. When I was pregnant at 40 , I was quite nervous about the future. My beautiful blessing, Savvy, was a truly unexpected gift. After trying with my partner for 4 years, she was conceived. I had thought after our first year of trying, I wouldn't ever be able to have children. I had so many concerns about pregnancy, having the energy to raise my daughter well, and about the demands of my job. I had 3 international keynotes while pregnant. I really appreciated the women in my field who reached out to me and provided me with so much advice. They also were there to just listen and to reassure me they'd been there. I never asked them for support. Instead, these women contacted me on their own through Facebook messenger and I'm so glad they did.
- We also need to be better at "thunderclapping." I also learned this term from Sarah Thomas who does this with EduMatch. When women are keynoting or presenting we need to storm social media with their words of inspiration, books and resources. When conferences see this momentum they are encouraged to book more women. We also need to flood the conference with evaluations saying how much we appreciated and valued the message from the diverse, female speaker. Women make up a huge part of the education industry and tend to be the majority at conferences. If every woman sent an evaluation like this then conferences would make sure they booked more diverse speakers.
- We also need to suggest women for opportunities. We need to write to conferences a list of females who we'd like to be inspired by. When I can't do a keynote or presentation I share a recommended list of female speakers and their emails. I'm excited that many have gotten paid opportunities because of this. We need more women who are brilliant diamonds to look at the rock and be reminded of the difficulties of their journey and pull others up to shine with them.