I have been working at eXPD8, for approximately 5 months. In my current position, I have been lucky enough to be surrounded by supportive, dynamic individuals. Furthermore, I have seemingly always worked in predominantly female based offices, with some of the most driven women I have met in my life, and it has been hugely motivational for me.
As I have begun to develop my career, I have had numerous opportunities to sit in on business meetings, whether it be to observe or contribute. And one constant I have noticed, is the women who are in high powered positions do not apologise unnecessarily.
In 2014, Pantene released the ‘Not Sorry Shine Strong’ campaign. The advertisement features a variety of situations whereby a women in the workplace, and otherwise, apologise for no real reason; for example, one scene features a woman in a meeting saying “Sorry, can I ask a stupid question?”. There then follows other sections, until the phrase ‘Don’t be sorry, be strong and shine’ flashes across the screen. The same woman is then featured again, where she says, “I have a question…”. The absence of ‘sorry’ immediately adjusts her role in the meeting. She no longer is diminishing the importance of her statement, but having the confidence to question.
Author Sloane Crosley writes in her article ‘Why Women Apologise and Should Stop’ that for women, beginning a sentence with sorry has subconsciously been linked with politeness despite the fact it may have derogatory inflections upon ourselves. Crosley writes that women may use sorry as it “is that being perceived as rude is so abhorrent to women that we need to make ourselves less obtrusive before we speak up”. Consequently, it is a battle for some women in the workplace, and everyday life, to learn the distinction between being rightfully assertive and being rude- one I am pushing myself to learn each day.
One must of course pay reference to the fact that some men will struggle with the problem of apologising unnecessarily, as it is absurd to think a trait is based purely on someone’s gender. However, through my research and reading studies on the matter, it seems to be a larger demographic of women than men that struggle with this issue.
I have actually never found myself in a position of feeling inferior due to my gender in the workplace. Additionally, in my present role I am surrounded by some of the most uncompromisingly conscientious and respectful men I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and working with.
The word ‘sorry’ holds gravity for me. I constantly strive to ensure that an apology is only made if an apology is due. I feel it is my duty as a young woman in the workplace, to become a member of a dynamic, unapologetic workforce which will help drive others to succeed and pursue their ambitions. Whilst it may be ingrained in my subconscious to diminish my intelligence with a simple ‘sorry’ or ‘this is a stupid question’, I am working to change that.