February 23, 2020

Empowering women means paying them



After yet another request from a women's organization asking me to speak for free, I wrote this post on Facebook. I then posted it on Instagram and Twitter, and as an article on LinkedIn. My speaking colleagues are sharing it and getting lots of comments! It's the closest thing I've ever had to a viral post. 😜

Feel free to share the LinkedIn article or this post, as this message needs to be shared widely! Yes, there are many more points that could have been added; this is just what came out in the heat of the moment!

A note to women's organizations: Does your mission include empowering women and teaching them to recognize and own their value? Do you offer professional development opportunities to help women grow in their careers or become successful entrepreneurs?

What message are you sending when you write checks for all the costs of your event: the venue, the food, and the A/V staff...

... but you ask your professional women speakers—the reason people even come to your event—to pay their own travel; cover all their costs of being away from home and office; take the time to prepare and practice a high-quality, engaging, entertaining, professional-level presentation customized to your group; and speak for FREE?

(Do you ask your doctor or plumber to work for free? Walk out of the grocery store without paying for your cereal? Expect to binge your Netflix shows without a subscription?)

Yes, you will likely find someone willing to speak "for exposure" (which doesn't pay our bills, and there is no guarantee of even one book sale, not to mention a high-paying client resulting from this "exposure"), so you may continue to believe this is an acceptable practice.

We love to "give back." But we usually already have favorite organizations that we've chosen for volunteering and philanthropy (you know who you are ❤️).

I want to ask you: Can you really say you believe in empowering women when you continue to devalue your women speakers? Are you willing to put your money where your message is?

#speakingupforchange

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