Ashley Parker: Leading the Way to Gender Equity
Ashley Parker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who writes for the Washington Post is my idea of the perfect example of where gender equity should go and is going for women. She is the poster child for how we move forward without having to be compared to men, or even worse, championed as the “first woman” something or other, which sends me scurrying to that pint of Häagen-Dazs in my freezer in the dead of night.
Let’s review. We had Biden constantly putting out pressies touting his cabinet and other appointments as being the “first” of oh-so-many things. The first all-female communications team. Really, Joe? First of all, that implies you sought out and found the best women to serve on the communications team rather than simply the best people. The first Native American secretary of the interior. Like it or not, this implies you filled positions with firsts rather than bests. If I were being appointed to a position of power, I wouldn’t want to be introduced that way. I’d want to be identified as, simply, an ice cream expert who has the authority to speak about how Häagen-Dazs has clearly changed over the years and has too much air now and not enough cream. I’d want to be the best person for the job.
And the credentials introducing them, and even their behavior when accepting these leadership roles is so … well … so male. We are so much more than, "thank you Mr. President elect for this moment to serve." We have stories to tell that introduce how we will lead; they are what makes us fabulous women leaders.
Enter my hero, Ashley Parker, super slayer of inside information presented in a timely, well-written way around all things in the White House. She is the first to get many leads, which shows that people trust her. Otherwise, they would find another person with whom to share their information. She won a Pulitzer because of her research and writing skills. If you haven’t read her work, you should.
But guess what else? She’s an incredibly strong female presence, without the inhibition of being “her” human. In other words, she doesn’t ghost the rest of her life when she’s working. I “see” her — in her life, in her support of her friends and family, and in her brilliance in presenting news. Let’s review some of her tweets.
And then it’s about her lunch.
And she’s succinct in putting forth her opinion.
Best of all, she shares with humor stories of her truth about the challenges of being a working wife, mom, and woman.
And here’s my personal favorite:
This is a woman who can lead the way to gender equity, our way, without filter, to stand on the strength of our work and not have to fear its diminishment because of everything else we are: Funny. Busy — sometimes too busy. Supportive. We have lives larger than our business success. But we are unbending in getting it right.
So stop pointing out that I am a woman. And, women, be all that you are, both in the boardroom and at home. Maybe we can change the way men present themselves in their work environments rather than having to mirror their one-dimensional (not all men, but seriously, most) presentation of work and only work.
I stand on the quality of my work, not that I’m a woman doing it — just like my hero, Ashley Parker. And, I will hold my dependence on ice cream for those anxious moments when my to do list is longer than my life span proudly waving alongside my brilliance.