For a while now, we’ve talked here about what keeps women from showing up. When women are invited to represent–think conferences, meetings, panels, committees, or a thousand more personal events–what factors cause them to say “no”?
Today, let’s talk about what factors help women say “yes.” What does get women to show up?
(This list is anecdotal and non-scientific, based on your comments, shared stories, and private conversations.)
1. Economics, plain and simple. We’re not eager to show up if the numbers don’t make our attendance enticing–or at least feasible.
2. Our voice is needed. When we know we’re bringing something to the table that wouldn’t otherwise be there (a needed viewpoint, a unique perspective) we’re more likely to make the effort. (But not if we sniff tokenism.)
3. Enthusiasm. If we don’t care, we’re more likely to stay home.
3. A supportive spouse. Those of us who are married–especially if we have kids–need our partners’ practical and moral support.
4. A support system. We need a network we can rely on to help us show up. This may look like grandparents who pitch in, a web of friends who will help us out in a pinch, or four brilliant babysitters on speed dial. It may look like a reliable dog-walker or friends who let us crash on their couches or a bestie who shows up with coffee and cupcakes when we’re about to lose it.
5. Margin. If our day-to-day life is already stressing us out, we’re less likely to sign up for extra obligations.
6. Flexibility. If we can tweak our schedules to suit our needs and bring our families along to our events (especially if we’re breastfeeding a baby), showing up becomes a real possibility and not just a pipe dream.
7. Accessibility. If showing up is easy–not just on the home front, but logistically, we’re more likely to say yes. (A drive across town? Sure. Three flights that total fourteen hours? The odds are against it.)
8. Recovery time. We’re more likely to say yes if we know that by doing so we’re not abandoning sleep, self-care, or psychological wellness for a period of days–or weeks. (See also margin, support system.)
9. Perks. If showing up means we get a free flight to visit family, or a city on our bucket list, or a trip that dovetails easily into a (less expensive) family vacation, or even Red Sox box tickets, we’ll try harder to show up.
(It’s worth pointing out that nothing on this list–except maybe #6–is gender-specific.)
What do you resonate with on this list? What did I forget?