Women and Ambition – a Feminist Approach

Women and Ambition - a Feminist Approach

There’s nothing shameful about being a woman with ambition. If you have ambition, pretending you don’t is a kick in the teeth to the feminists who fought for your rights to get a fair wage and realise your dreams.

Many proclaim a woman should strive for service to others, especially taking care of family members. An ambitious woman who thinks beyond this societal organization of gender control was and still is called an immoral “bitch” from ignoring the needs of everyone but themselves. Ambitious women are considered dangerous because they are ruthless and will throw away morals to accomplish their goals. How often do you hear people decrying the evils of men doing the same thing for the sake of business?

Mean-spirited people will do whatever it takes to get to achieve their goals, including discouraging others from pursuing their own dreams. Mean-spirited people of both genders take on many forms, from being outright hostile to more passive techniques, such as giving someone the cold shoulder.

Societal norms dictate that the modern woman needs to look sexy while also being smart enough to have a decent intellectual conversation yet shouldn’t be smarter than a man. This approach is out of date. It goes back at least as far as Ancient Greece, where consort/prostitute called a hetaira not only functioned as eye candy but was also expected to mingle with important men and hold her own in conversation on politics, philosophy and society. But not, of course, to the extent that she came across as more clever than the men she served. Society sounds confused as to what roles a woman should really undertake for themselves.

Workplace politics and society proclaim women are allowed to work as long as the woman doesn’t earn more than a man. According to Pay Equity, American women still earn less than men; women earn 77% of the salary men receive. The Globaldailybusiness site says that men earn about six thousand pounds more than their female counterparts.

Society has already taught many women not to actively question what is offered to them. Workplace politics and human nature just make things worse by creating an environment hostile to the concept of women asserting their right to a fair share of pay.

Inhibiting ambition isn’t only a feminist issue – it’s unhealthy for anyone regardless of their identity. Life would be boring, because every action would be seen as meaningless. Everyone is ambitious to a certain point. To stifle any ambition leaves a person with stunted life satisfaction and diminished motivation to improve one’s circumstances.

Not pursuing one’s goals is a kick in the teeth to the brave feminists who have paved the way to allow other females to try their hand at various activities. Elizabeth Blackwell was the first female doctor. Amy Winehouse has been credited to helping unconventional artists such as Lady GaGa and Lily Allen make it big in mainstream music. Many more women have opened more career options to fellow women by not giving in to external pressures from both men and women by not allowing themselves short; if they did, it would discredit their hard work because it would then lead one to ask what the point of a woman’s ambition was if she couldn’t be bothered to finish what she started out to do.

Ambition can serve as a motivating factor to improve your skills and bring attention to them. Regardless of gender, a hard worker should always be awarded for their attention and dedication to their work.

Yes, women need to be more assertive at in allowing themselves to admit to being ambitious. They need to lessen the shame they may feel in making such an admission. Ideally, women also need to remember to be willing to help others who may be inexperienced. Many women (including myself) have stories on how a supposedly friendly female mentor betrayed the former for personal gain. Fewer men report feeling sabotaged by their more experienced male mentors. A greater proportion of men report getting more help from their mentors. Helping each other out is not going to ruin one’s chances of climbing the ladder of success. Only hard work and time will tell if success truly is in your realm. You never know when you may need the help of that person you saw as a potential threat or burden.

Having ambition is not for the weak hearted, the less confident. No matter how many negative encounters a woman may have with people who’ll try to crush or underplay her ambitions, as long as she realizes the validity of her dreams, she will – in a very important sense – succeed.

Nothing in life comes easy, for any gender – especially for the important stuff like accomplishing what needs to be done.

Bad ass interpretation of ‘We Can Do It’ poster by Lukas Marcel. Nice work, guy!

Kulsoom Abdullah, a female weightlifter from the US. She fought for – and won – the right to compete in a modified weightlifting uniform that complied with the hijab and her faith. Tiny woman, huge weights.