The problem with perfection is simple.
It is that we buy into it. The world tells us what we should be and we have tried to reach that ever changing mark. They tell us to be soft, be strong, be gentle…Are they talking about people or toilet paper? A quick Google search will show you 229 Million results in less than 1 second. Everyone’s weighing in. Scientists telling us the formula that make us beautiful….for the record my noes dos not have the desired 106 degrees tilt. Fashion magazines giving us their latest opinion, and right at the top, Men’s Health. Ask yourself who you were before they told you who to be. And while you do let’s think about this. Reshma Soujani is the founder and CEO of girls who code and is a best-selling author She pointed out the most girls are taught to avoid risking failure. They are taught to smile pretty, to play it safe, get all A’s. Boys on the other hand are taught to play rough and swing high and By the time they are adults whether they’re negotiating a raise or asking someone out on a date They are habituated to take a risk after risk and they’re rewarded for it. To put it simply We’re raising our girls to be perfect, and we’re raising our boys to be brave. Brave can mean a lot of things. It’s ok to stand out, to ask questions, to be curious, it’s ok to fail. It’s better than ok because it’s part of the process We’re often so concerned with the idea of failure or of not being perfect that, as women, we don’t try Winston Churchill said that success is stumbling from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm Some of you might think that sounds awfully close to the definition of insanity, but here’s the difference. Failure may be the result of trying something in a new way Insanity is the result of not learning from our failure Try again. Turn your problem on it’s head, look at is from a new perspective and then try again In our families, in academia, in our careers, and in the media representation matters. In 1998 Disney’s Mulan was released in theaters. She was a young girl like me Also, like me she had straight dark hair and was a perpetual disaster. She wasn’t good at sitting still and thought there might be a different path for her She was brave and if she could be why not me? Sure, she was a cartoon character with eyes on saving the Chinese Empire with the help of cricket and Dragon But why not me? I wouldn’t recognize the power of representation for many years, but I felt stronger walking out of that theater. Two decades later Wonder Woman made us all a little extra confident I saw one woman hero movie and I’m ready to fight a thousand dudes barehanded In 2019, Captain Marvel encouraged us all to go higher farther and faster She taught us that when we fall we must learn to get up rather than give up And that things like our emotions that some would call a weakness might be the things that make us uniquely powerful Real-life examples of brave women were never far for me My mother had five young children and was newly single when she decided to put herself through college to open her own business My grandmother worked in a factory because she was told that while she was well qualified her dream job of being a telephone operator They would never hire a woman with an accent Four generations of women helped to show me who I was who I could become They never gave me any idea that I couldn’t be anything that I wanted to be In our own industry, there are examples of great women in all levels of business American maker recently recognized these women is the most powerful in banking I can tell you that this very room I see bravery One way that we show it best is when we champion each other. I wouldn’t be here today today speaking to you all very quickly I might add, had it not been for the encouragement of the women seated around. We don’t have to look far at all to find examples that inspire us. Women in every field of work, every nationality, every age, are changing the world in ways that we can’t imagine When you hear a voice inside yourself that says that you can’t or you’re not enough pour yourself a cuppa, and just breathe. You can. Refocus. Recenter. Try again. Gentlemen, your role is vital reflect on your own efforts to promote equality Encourage your peers. Challenge them. And teach your daughters to be brave. Ladies, seize every opportunity to rise. Remember that the goal is brave, not perfect and imagine how we will change the world tomorrow. Thank you.