Abby Wamback, former international football (soccer) champion and Olympic gold medalist was asked if her Leadership Presentation for a company would be applicable to men too. Good question! If only every male speaker, trainer and coach was asked if their message is applicable to women too.
To do a gender audit of your presentation and the story you tell you need to include a balance of experiences. This is also why –I would argue — you need to include not just a random number of tick-box types of genders and colors and abilities when being inclusive but different mind sets and backgrounds. We need the reflectors and the disruptors as well as decision makers to get a truer picture of possibility and wider scope of what issues are really present.
As a storyteller when I tell a traditional tale I research all the variants so I don’t fall victim to a ‘single story’ (Chimamanda Adichie TEDtalk) that has been manipulated by the style, period and editor that originally wrote it down. I also consider all the characters in the story and perspective of who’s telling that story and how that perspective can change to include more than one focus of the action or biased commentary that reinforces stereotypes. (wolves are dangerous predators, stepmothers evil without reason, heroes always good)
In the case of personal story, brand story and the business story the tendency is to sing of the glories of overcoming adversity without ever talking about the adversity; to give testament to success. But there is no Testament without a Test. And unmasking and revealing the surprising undiscovered truth of a situation –especially when it is our own awakening –is especially powerful and builds our credibility as human, frail, imperfect and vulnerable. This is what empathy is all about. And is the connecting point in any story. We many not share the exact experience but we know the feeling. We may have not slain a dragon but by God we’ve had to face a few out of control power tyrants with the heart of a lion –who’s bravery comes from hunting and killing by the way.
Sheryl Sandberg helped introduce parking spaces for expectant mothers at Google after struggling to walk across the company’s huge car park whilst pregnant with her first child, with Criado Perez using this example to show that gender bias is not a purely male issue.
Criado Perez in her book Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men says: “The fact that