Recognizing Talent in An Unexpected Context

  • Feb 11, 2013
  • meredith
By Venus D. Johnson, Emerge California Class of 2013
I came across this phrase a few weeks ago in an article I was reading. Something about it grabbed me, so I quickly copied it down on a post-it note and tucked away it in a safe place. As I prepared to sit down and write my blog, I pulled out my post-it note and began to write … 
Too often women are overlooked when it comes to jobs, promotions, appointments, elected office, and so on and so on. It seems like more often than not women are viewed as the talent in an unexpected context, rather then the talent in any context. So, this begs the question. Why is it when a woman takes on a prestigious position she is viewed as the “surprisingly well qualified candidate?” The unexpected talent discovered in a room full of men? Frankly, I’m tired of it.
When I entered the Emerge CA program I was thrilled and excited to travel along this journey with a group of talented and amazing women. Our Saturday sessions are filled with powerful affirmations and the constant reinforcement that WE CAN DO ANYTHING! But, I still find myself being slapped in the face by, well, reality. The world is after all, dominated by men. They run the majority of our boardrooms. They are, for the majority of us, our bosses and supervisors. They outnumber women in both state and national elected office. In fact, they outnumber us in almost every aspect of life. 
But the question we must ask is, does the sheer fact that men outnumber women translate into women being seen as less than men? The answer is, of course not! This is common sense, right? Something we all know? Didn’t the women’s sufferance movement, the civil rights movement, and affirmative action take care of all of this? Aren’t women and men …equal? 
The sad truth remains. Women are still trying to “break through the glass ceiling.” Of recent, we are still debating our reproductive rights, the concept of equal pay for women, and whether women should be allowed in combat. How then do we set ourselves up to turn things around? To at least find ourselves on equal ground? Is it enough to be “treated” as equals? To be paid the same as men? I submit to you, the answer is no. It will take more that just being “treated” as equal. It will take women becoming the decision makers, the game changers, and the groundbreakers. We must take control of our fate and become the expected talent in every context.
Emerge Sisters, let’s go!