Some of the comments have brought up an interesting point of humility and power. These ideas made me think of a TEDtalk by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, in which she tries to explain why there are so few female leaders. She believes that so often women dropout of the workforce before they can achieve a high ranking position. Sandberg believes that far too often women undervalue themselves and their abilities and this causes them to be undervalued in the workplace. She explains that men attribute success to themselves while women attribute success to other factors. For her, women’s inability to own their accomplishments means that they are not competitive in the work arena and this causes them to be unable to reach the highest levels.

It’s clear that our current system rewards confidence but I wonder what space there is for humility. It seems that humility has been so far removed from power that a person’s refusal to constantly acknowledge how great they are is seen as a weakness rather than a strength.

Is it possible for someone to reach the highest level in their occupation and not have to resort to constantly bringing attention to their accomplishments? Can this be an expression of power?

It’s worthwhile to think about what humility means. Being humble is to acknowledge that you still have room for improvement and that there are beings that exist that are more powerful than you. It is to recognize that people other than you have the capacity to do something. And this is crucial for the establishment of equality between women and men. It requires the realization that there are others (perhaps of the opposite gender) who are just as capable as you and sometimes even more so. To emphasize power as dominating over people is to continue to perpetuate inequality. Essentially it is to accept the status quo. And it is quite clear that the status quo is just not good enough.

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