As a women's leadership organization, Be in the Room and it’s members are passionate about changing the conversation for women in business and women business owners. In order to do that, there are some things that we need to normalize. Despite women wanting to make more money and hit larger goals, and be treated as equal among our male counterparts… there are still women out there playing small. It's time to change that - and here's 5 more things we need to normalize for women leaders.
Meet Ryann Dowdy:
Ryann Dowdy is sales expert, business strategy genius, and Founder of Be in the Room and The Connection Agency. She has a passion for connection, community, and helping business owners tap into their true power as leaders. Her mission is to put more money and power into the hands of women while creating a space for them to come together and experience a sense of empowerment and belonging they've never experienced before.
Women start businesses at twice the rate of men, yet men statically make more money in their businesses and it is because they are charging more for their services.
Women need to get comfortable (and confident) charging more for the incredible work that they provide. I'm not talking about charging more just for the sake of charging more - we're not simply just seeing if people will be willing to pay us more.
Statistically, women undercharge. Statistically, women are doing the same work as agencies and even male entrepreneurs, yet charging less for it - and it's time to normalize the idea that we are worth a larger investment.
The reason that I know is I've literally coached hundreds and hundreds of women, and when they bring their pricing to me, the number one thing that I tell them is to raise their rates.
Pricing is part of your brand. If you are grossly underpriced compared to others in your industry, people are going to wonder why. They're going to assume that what you offer is not as high-level as someone else (even if it is) simply because of the price point.
Women need to be willing to charge what other people are charging for the same services. The services that you provide are extremely valuable. The way that you support people, the results that you get people, and the work that you do is extremely important and should be charged for accordingly.
The statistics tell us that in 1960, only 3% of women were out earning their partners. Now in 2023, that number is over 50% of women are either outearning their partners or earning about the same amount of money.
But what has not leveled out is the idea of the stay-at-home dad of the man in the family being the one who stays home and being the primary parent for their kids.
Maybe this is a conversation less for women leaders and one that we need to have with the men in our lives, but it's time to start normalizing the idea that if you are going to be the one out in the world earning money, it is okay for somebody else to stay home with the kids.
I know this is societal conditioning for both us and for our spouses, but it's really
Important and it's a conversation that needs to start happening. I happen to be married to a stay-at-home dad, and it's been such a game changer for us.
At one point in time, his job was taking him away from the home more than necessary. It was taking him away from the kids for a fraction of the amount of money that I was making, and it made no sense for us to continue to invest in childcare. It made no sense for me to be the one picking up all this extra slack around the house despite my business being the one funding our lifestyle. When he started staying home, I was able to focus on the business while he took care of the house and it just works for us.
We have to normalize that it is okay for us to have support outside of work. And sometimes that happens to be the other adult living in your home.
It can be really hard to find women to sit in C-suites level roles. We need to normalize women in places of powers inside of companies, and we need to do this amongst ourselves. It is our job as women leaders to equip ourselves and equip the women around us with the tools that we need to successfully lead companies.
We can start by putting more women in leadership roles - and embracing their unique leadership traits. When we look for leadership examples - we see a lot of men. We see a lot of traits that men have that we don't often see in women, but that's okay. I'll give you an example...
We may be fearful to put a woman in a place of power because we are worried that women may be overly emotional. Men statistically are less emotional when making decisions. They look at data and leave emotions out of it. What I would argue is that women being overly emotional is actually what makes us so powerful. It makes us great leaders. It makes really good at connecting to people, being empathetic, serving others, and having that serving heart. Women are fantastic at relationships, which makes us fantastic leaders.
As women, we are known for being more empathetic, being more sympathetic, being better at connection. And that is actually what leadership is. The problem is we have no examples of it. If we look around the world, we look at who's running successful companies. They're typically run by men.
In my experience, the typical leadership style in corporate agencies is very authoritative. You are expected to do what you are told, do not ask questions, show up, do the work, keep to yourself, listen to those above you and don't share ideas unless you're asked.
I really want us to start thinking about how we, as women, can use the skills that we have, the gifts that we have... such our empathy, our connection, our emotional intelligence, the ability to share our emotions, our willingly, our ability to be more open-minded to new ways of doing things, to really empower ourselves as leaders.
For my women in corporate roles, it can be difficult to look around and find another woman in a place of power to look up to. We think that in order to get those places of power, we need to act more like our male leaders. A lot of the women who are in these places of power are simply repeating what they saw and not truly embracing their unique gifts - and so it can be challenging to feel like you can still be your authentic self and be a good leader.
What we have to normalize inside organizations is a more transformational style of leadership, a more connection focused style of leadership. Leadership that is about serving our team versus just this authoritative command and control style of leadership that has been gone on for decades and decades at time before us. It's our job and it's our opportunity to really take this and change it.
This is the hardest one, because we were never taught to trust ourselves. In fact, it was the exact opposite. We were taught to trust other people. We were taught that we should just follow this blueprint for success, do what we're told, get the degree, follow the footsteps so the guy in front of us do it that way. And that's how we'll be successful.
As a result, we now have an entire generation of women who are questioning what they really like, who they were really meant to be and if they even want to be where they currently are. We've got a generation of women who have done what they were told to do instead of doing what they really want.
When we learn to trust ourselves, trust our ideas, trust our gut - amazing things happen. When something doesn't feel good, say no. When something does feel good, say yes. Even if those things don't make sense. I know that we are not taught this, but we have the power to change it. When we learn to trust ourselves, when we do the things that feel good, that's where success happens.
That's where our businesses explode. That's where our careers explode. That's where we're able to do things like charge more and have meaningful conversations with our partners about being stay-at-home dads and look for more women leaders and focus on connection over control.
If you are a woman leader who resonates with this message, who wants to normalize things that are not normal in our lives right now, and you want to have different conversations about leadership - we want you to be part of our community and we want to continue to serve you in a big way.