You probably think you know what I’m going to say, but it’s worth repeating regularly. As women in business, we take on so much personal responsibilty for every success and failure.
And it’s true, we are responsible.
But there’s a fascinating lager context to it all.
In our society, the man’s role is to create, build, produce, trailblaze. The women’s role is to maintain, sustain, nurture.
Guess which function is higher-paid and more highly valued? 🙄
“In the context of health and ecology, things that grow unchecked are often considered parasitic or cancerous. Yet we inhabit a culture that privileges novelty and growth over the cyclical and the regenerative. Our very idea of productivity is premised on the idea of producing something new, whereas we do not tend to see maintenance and care as productive in the same way.” – Jenny Odell
Womxn are the gender tasked with maintenance.
And it’s not that maintenance is not productive.
It’s not even that maintenance is not creative. (If you garden, you know that maintenance is very creative.)
It’s that our society doesn’t place enough value on maintenance both in terms of how productive or how creative they are.
Since we comprise our society, we can change this! But we have to recognize it first.
Our very idea of productivity is premised on the idea of producing something new, whereas we do not tend to see maintenance and care as productive in the same way.
It’s ironic because great ideas aren’t always (or even mostly) new ideas.
They are almost always the combination of existing ideas, or a bunch of existing ideas seen from a new angle. A Big Idea must often blossoms from the gathering and tending of a bunch of existing ideas. (Again with the gardening.)
That’s what it means to stand on the shoulders of those who came before us.
But because of the novelty/maintenance divide, as women when we have a Big Idea, we don’t even see it as valuable because it’s not wholly, completely new.
We have the Big Ideas. Just as many Big Ideas as men do. We need to see our ideas are worthy of making their way to the marketplace.