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I am featuring Oatmeal Chocolate Coconut Macaroons and "We Should All Be Feminists" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ⁠

Chimamanda discusses gender and feminism in Nigeria and the problems around gender expectations. Her examples are based on her experience in Nigeria however the examples can be seen around the world around expectations of boys and girls. She shares how at 14 years old she was called a feminist. She didn't know what it meant but she knew it wasn't a compliment. She proceeds to share how different people would provide her feedback on how “bad” the word feminist was because it meant you were sad and couldn’t find a husband so she called herself the “happy feminist”. She proceeds to share how she would add additional words to describe herself and that she was now a “Happy African Who Likes Men and Wears Lipstick Feminist.”⁠

She talks about how we need to raise our boys and girls differently. We teach our boys to mask their feelings and boys are required to pay for things and be “hard”. For girls we tell them to be smaller and have ambition but not too much ambition or else you will emasculate your male partner. In Nigeria it is expected that girls need to aspire to be married but boys don't have that same expectation. Her examples are practical and thought provoking. ⁠

I highly recommend this book and talk for men who want to show up as an ally. The book is only 52 pages and her TedX talk is 30 minutes long. ⁠

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.⁠

This week, @judie_boroevich is going to be reviewing “Choosing Courage” - so ENJOY!

“Thanks, Stephanie, for another guest spot in your 52 Weeks of Cookies & Books series, and a shout out to Megan McAllister @meganmcallister_hr who recommended this wonderful book to me.

At the heart of Jim Detert’s, Choosing Courage: The Everyday Guide to Being Brave at Work, is the premise that courage isn’t an innate characteristic that only a rare few possess, but rather, it’s a skill that any of us can develop with practice. His book includes case studies, frameworks and exercises to help us develop this skill. I particularly liked the simplicity of the “courage ladder” exercise, which guides the reader through mapping out acts of courage to undertake, each one progressively more difficult, to practice with.

Key insights:

It’s important to practice courageous action in small, low-risk moments in order to build the competency and confidence required for bigger moments of courageous action.

People who are repeatedly courageous don’t share common personality traits, however many of them do share that their courage comes from a place of integrity, and that they live by a set of personal core values that help inform when they will be courageous.

Courageous acts shouldn’t be routinely necessary within an organization. If they are, it’s time to examine the culture and environment within the organization for the underlying cause. For instance, if employees aren’t speaking up in meetings, why aren’t they – is there a lack of psychological safety? Or a fear of engaging in conflict? Detert notes that “honest participation shouldn’t be a courageous act”.

Detert cautions that assuming we’ll be courageous in a moment of need isn’t a solid plan of action because “we can not become someone in 30 seconds that we haven't been for the past 10 years", and his book provides a practical, well-researched approach for being ready in that moment of need.”

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Why this book?⁠

Working as an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Director I take great pride in my work as employees trust me to create a more inclusive workplace. I am always looking for ways to be a better leader and this book provides great stories. Here are four great stories and quotes that stood out for me. ⁠

During the market crash of 2008 a CEO of an American Manufacturing company decided that instead of having layoffs every employee from CEO to secretary would have to take 4 weeks unpaid leave during the year. It didn't matter when and whether it was taken together or not. Now what I appreciate about this is that the CEO found another alternative instead of layoffs. The CEO valued their employees and found a creative solution. ⁠

Equity, Diversity and Inclusion work is creative work and looking for alternatives. ⁠

This quote is powerful. Read it twice: “Our intelligence gives us ideas and instructions. But it is our ability to cooperate that actually helps us get things done.” Collaboration is the secret sauce to getting things done more efficiently and creatively. ⁠

August 5th 1981 is the day corporations were given the green light to lay off people. Well not exactly however it is the day that President Reagan fired 11,359 air traffic controllers. They were demanding more pay and shorter weeks so President Reagan fired them and banned every striker from working for the FAA again for the rest of their lives. Wow…pretty harsh. Most of these air traffic controllers were war veterans who found themselves in poverty after this. ⁠

There is always a ripple effect to every action you take and this is an example of horrible leadership. ⁠

Let me know what you think, in the comments below!⁠

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