“Rúna, the next generation will change gender equality and gender equity; they already see, act and behave so differently from our generations!”
I would be a millionaire today if I had been given $1 each time somebody said this to me for the past 40+ years.
That sentence and, as an addition, the sentence:” The school system has to do better in this field; we need to educate the future generations better for more gender equity.”
Wow… if I added a $1 each time I heard that sentence, I would not only be a millionaire, I would be a billionaire!
Hearing these sentences repeated to me endlessly used to fill me with frustration for decades.
I could have pulled my hair one by one (and I have a massive amount of hair, by the way) to the point where I would have been bald… walking around like a zombie wearing a wig.
I used to scream inside, frustrated at seeing many people publicly say they advocate for gender equality. Still, they unconsciously hold tight to the gender stereotype roles with their day-to-day behaviours, talks and actions.
Seeing the World from the Hilarious Boxed-Based Thinking Changed My Frustration into Laughter.
The other day, I listened to an interesting Podcast episode on Karlmennskan (Icelandic, meaning The Manhood). A few young people in the LGBTQ+ community in Iceland were guests in this podcast, sharing their views and experiences as young transgender and gay people. This group celebrated an opening for a community centre for LGBTQ+ in the age group 16–20 years old in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland.
One of the conversations sparked by Þorsteinn, the podcast host, caught my attention.
The question was: “Now that you as a group have your special community centre for LGBTQ+, one might ask if that is necessary. Is that needed today, in 2022, when young people are so open and accepting of all gender diversity?”
They answered: “We need this special community centre to feel safe, to be ourselves. The next generation might change this”
Holy Moly, “ I thought.
So, even people in the age group 16–20 expect the next generation to be the change… not their generation.
This is like a pandemic! Ha! the ‘Next Generation Pandemic’!
Why are people expecting ‘the next generation’ to change? I asked myself.
Why don’t we collectively and consciously decide to change ourselves first?
Behave differently? Be the change!
We spend tons of money, energy and years on educating ourselves. We then spend endless resources to analyse complex research on the benefits of more gender-balanced leadership roles.
We get the results from these global researches that all showcase the benefits of more diverse leadership in the workplace, political world etc. Numbers showcasing the benefits of diversity.
So it’s not that we don’t know it. It’s not as we don’t have the proofs.
It’s not because we are not educated enough through the standard education system.
Boxed-based thinking is only saving our brain a few calories.
Throughout the years, I’ve loved to ask people in my network,
And each time I’ve asked that question, there are typically two things that happen.
People generally either;
a) turn away from me, go quiet, and I can see they mentally go into their little ‘safe box’,
b) their faces transform into scary faces. I can see and feel they are in the ‘uncomfortable box’, unsure what to do or how to function within.
At that time, the people in the ‘uncomfortable box’ with the transformed scary face that looks like they are frozen usually say something like:
” But it’s so difficult to change other people.”
Automatically taking the responsibility away from themselves and placing it on ALL the others!
Hilarious reactions… keeping humanity all safely in the ‘this is how we’ve always done it, box.’
It’s fascinating to notice what happens next.
Moments after they have answered this way, most of them join the people in the first group in the same ‘safe box’.
They crawl into that tight box crowded with people unwilling to see the world outside their little bubble. They are not interested in looking outside the social construct that has designed their boxes.
I can see they are relaxed in this ‘safe box’ on their faces.
This is the box where other people, like themselves, feel it’s much more comfortable to believe that “the next generation” will fix it — not us!
Living in the crowded ‘Safe Box.’
It must stink in that box! That box has no oxygen for people to breathe.
The excellent news is that one or two people will stop and want to continue this conversation, and these are curious people who want to explore this deeper.
You can bet your bottom dollar that I love having conversations with those few people. Who are open to exploring how we can become more aware of our words, actions and behaviours.
Changing the sentence: “But the next generation will change this” … to;
“I’m committed to changing this, raising awareness towards my behaviours, allowing me to be myself on that journey, free from the socially constructed boxes all around me.”
I choose to follow the second one!
Which sentence speaks to you?
. . .
Author: Rúna Magnúsdóttir, leadership coach, international speaker and author, co-creator of No More Boxes The Transformational Movement.
This article is part of the Out-Of-The-Box Articles with Rúna Magnúsdóttir.
This post was previously published on Runa Magnusdottir’s blog.
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