Who Run The World? Girls.
It’s senior year, and we need furniture for our apartments. What does that mean? Taking a trip to IKEA to buy the cheapest livable furniture of course!
ROAD-TRIPPPP. Nicole and I stroll to IKEA in her little sports car.
I’ve never really been in one of these places before, I’ve only read about it and dreamt it up in my head from an HBS case I had to read once upon a time, but according to my guy friends it’s all the rave.
After 45 minutes, we finally arrive. We go through the motions – bathroom, maze, cinnamon buns, and creating a checklist of what to get. The whole time, itching to leave. Girls don’t build furniture anyways…
Down a large flight of metal steps, we stand in this unexpectedly long line and wait to get all the pieces. At the front of the queue, we obtain a cart that looks like something you use to push cinderblocks from Home Depot on. You have got to be kidding me.
So here we are, two petite girls, dragging what felt like a 70-pound dead carcass across gravel. Whatever, we’ll deal.. Except for the fact that this place is an ABSOLUTE animal house. Holy hell.
In multiple near death experiences, we manage to avoid getting our toes dismembered by shoppers who clearly have their eyes taped to the sides of their legs. The boxes we need are large and heavy. Everyone is exceptionally assertive and competitive – trying to get to boxes and aisles before you do. I felt like I was a contestant in Supermarket Sweep. (For those of you who aren’t as knowledgeable about TV entertainment, it’s basically a show where people voluntarily run each other over in an effort to fill their shopping carts with the most expensive items in the store).
In a surprising turn of events, we make it out alive and drive home with an empty car because we figured we would much rather have home delivery than broken backs from lifting heavy plywood that was supposed to somehow magically turn into a pretty nightstand.
Yay! What a productive day! Froyo to celebrate and hugs all around. Let the feel good music blast, girlfriend, because we aren’t sleeping on air mattresses on the floor much longer.
Fast forward. “Run the World” by Beyoncé starts playing, and it kind of got me thinking about how, as women, we rely on men too often. Carrying our boxes? Home delivery? A handy man to come ring my doorbell and assemble the furniture? And here we are blasting music about how women essentially rule the world. #noshame.
One verse really stuck out to me. It goes like this: “Boy you know you love it how we’re smart enough to make these millions, strong enough to bear the children then get back to business.”
All jokes aside, this post isn’t just about some silly sorority girls going on a furniture spree with daddy’s credit card and being too weak and delicate because of our manicured nails. It’s really about how there are so many stereotypes out there that hinder women from reaching their full potential.
Sure women don’t tend to be handymen, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of assembling furniture or should think we need to rely on any man to do it for us– that would just be lazy.
And sure, men are genetically built to be physically stronger than women, but that doesn’t mean our backs will break carrying boxes from a cart to the trunk of a car. (We have mouths and manners to ask men to do that favor for us silly! Totally kidding, of course.)
Point is, there are so many strong and inspirational women who have a meaningful outlook on what female leaders have and are able to accomplish, even while taking into account the maternal role many women choose to take at some point in their lives. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook exemplifies this flawlessly.
I recently picked up Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, where she shares her insight on female leadership and how she became Facebook’s COO after working for companies such as the World Bank, McKinsey, and Google.
The entire book encompasses the idea of women letting go of their inhibitions and insecurities and putting their best foot forward, regardless of any diffidence. In many situations, Sandberg explains that the things that ultimately deter women from stepping up and rising to positions of power are really things that they create in their own minds about what people will think of them – stereotypes. Sandberg sends a strong message to young women who want to successfully balance a professional career as well as have a family. The key to doing what you want to do is having full confidence in your abilities and lacking self-doubt. There are hundreds of biases that people hold in the workplace about the capabilities of a woman compared to that of a man, but in this day and age, it is totally taboo.
Why do I say this? If Sheryl Sandberg is not a good enough example, simply look at other industries whose influential figures are women –fashion industry’s Anna Wintour, Pepsi’s CEO Indra Nooyi, philanthropist Oprah Winfrey, and how could we forget, singer and actress Beyoncé Knowles (who is ranked 17th on “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes)
Regardless of your goals and ambitions in life, just remember that without women, the world would not exist, and although stereotypes and preconceptions still exist, we don’t have to let them discourage us from being the cream of the crop.
We are fully capable of sitting at the round table with the boys.
There are reasons why queens ruled the world in the Medieval Ages and still rule some countries, why queen bees dominate the beehive, and why workplaces with more female leaders achieve lower turnover rates, increased market shares in the consumer markets, and higher levels of innovation. Whatever the proof you need, it is certain that women are living in an era that is becoming more conducive to high productivity and maintaining positions of power while balancing family life.
At the end of the day, whether you choose to get your furniture assembled or not, just remember that IKEA was meant for DIY’s – that means you do not need to rely on any man to get the job done.