New Co-Women member, Jo Baldwin, offers this week's words on the subject of equality. Jo is a yoga fanatic, author, soul mentor and patron of Soul Sisters Empowering People, supporting those who have experienced domestic abuse.
I promise this isn't going to be another rant about the time we weren't meant to go out, but more of a reflection and observation of a time which had many silver linings, and the shift for female leadership, I believe, was one of them.
During that time, there seems to have been more self-reflection and more self-assessment. More reviewing of the stark reality of what our lives were really like.
"The great pause", as I prefer to call it, created a notable levelling of gender, hierarchy and status through a surprising medium that dominated that time - Zoom (or Microsoft Teams or whatever platform you held your meetings on).
Virtually overnight we all became a small square of equal size and shape, with equal opportunity to chat, raise a hand and speak up.
The normal opportunity for physical presence, charisma, picking the most dominating chair etc fell by the wayside as we rocked up on screen on an equal stage. It was humanisatioin on the grandest of scales, and I beleive our world is a better place for it, and especially our female world.
I noticed less apologising, less excusing, less self-conscious awareness and more opportunity for direct chat, more opportunity for observing people's body language at the same time, and more chance of notising people who were really present and showing up.
One of my favourite videos from that time was Jackie Weaver giving her fellow Parish Councillor a right roasting for demeaning and belittling her. Instead of dealing with him in a room, she dealt with him on Zoom and kicked him off. Harsh? Perhaps, but the platform gave her authority and she easily and confidently used it, perhaps not what would have happened if they'd been in a parish town hall.
Thanks to more events and meetings online, more of us were able to connect further afield and I, for one, was able to grow a more global network of women which enabled me to fulfil a life-long dream - of creating a book about women, for women, on the journey of leadership. I was able to promote this book online, hold events and an online global book launch, and amazingly, this book became an international bestseller.
This book also attracted six male authors and was reviewed by many people who really felt connected to the core components of how female leadership had changed, as well as how it was now time for women to step into leadership like never before.
The second women leading book was published last year, and now both books offer a very clear message of how our female hearts are at the core of our leadership, and how our stories form, mould and influence our leadership and make us exceptional leaders.
Stepping into any role is our choice, and if we do this with raw honesty, with self-love and with kindness at the core, I really feel the gloves are off when it comes to leadership for women.
There has never been more opportunity for honesty and very real leadership for women including all the lumps and bumps that we uniquely experience as women, as mothers too.
Another favourite video from "lockdown" was then a professor was interviewed on BBC and his son interrupted the interview and came on live TV. This kind of situation is something mothers would have been concerned for, perhaps apologetic for and more impactfully, was another of the many reasons used previously for why women weren't up forf the job of leadership. But not anymore.
Is there a woman in your life who has desire and potential but isn't quite stepping into leading? Send her a copy of Women Leading and it may just be the inspiration that she needs. Please connect with me here, and please reach out if you'd like to be in my next anthology which will offer help to parents who have children with anxiety, which tragically, is so many right now.