I’ve recently read the book Cassandra Speaks by Elisabeth Lesser. In her introduction she writes:


Humans love stories. We always have. We write them and read them, tell them and show them, learn from them and live by them. Throughout history, most of humankind’s origin stories, hero’s journey tales, novels, and films have been created by men. Embedded in the stories are the values and priorities we live by, and what we believe about women and men, power and war, sex and love. 

But what if women had been the storytellers too? 

What story would Eve have told about picking the apple? What would Pandora have said about opening the box? And what about the other stories from around the world that cast women as fickle, sinful, and untrustworthy? 


Women’s version is missing


What this thought provoking read confirmed for me is the sad fact that most areas in our current society are based on half a story. Many times women’s version is missing, and sometimes – though to a much lesser extent – men’s.


And this is one of the reasons even the most competent of us at times feel

  • Like impostors, faulty, unworthy
  • The need to show up differently at work, wearing a mask, adapting ‘male’ behaviours
  • Resistant to words like power, influence, success and ambition
  • Doubtful of our very own expertise and capabilities and those of our sisters
  • Lacking in confidence


Second in creation but first to sin


If all of our lives we are being told that we were ‘’second in creation but first to sin’’ like Eve, that women are not to be trusted like Cassandra, or that women are the source of all evil like Pandora, then it’s no wonder we eye ourselves and our female colleagues with suspicion.


And most worryingly, these biases have been implanted in our brains so early on, and with such consistent regularity from family, religion, society, and culture at large, that many of us don’t even notice we have them. Let alone start asking the question if maybe there’s a reason outside of us we feel something’s off in our workplaces, our ways of living, our ways of leading. 


What if we trusted ourselves?


What would happen, if instead of doubting our inner voice and calling ourselves ‘’too sensitive, too emotional’’, we would pay attention to our guts, our hearts, our ‘’hysteria’’ and pay attention to what we feel?


We would start owning our innate feminine power and voice. And we could start showing up like the proverbial canaries in the coal mines. The first ones to feel affected and therefore in a position to signal danger.


The good news is that more and more of us are fed up with being exposed to ‘gas’ and have stopped ‘singing’. We recognize that our world is out of balance. And that, with patriarchy having pretty much dominated the last two millennia, we are in dire need of the mature feminine to join hands with the mature masculine to bring healthy polarity back into our lives and workplaces. 

Adding the other half of the story


At Azkua we call us ‘canaries’ Wholistic In High Heels. You won’t immediately recognize us until you scratch the surface a little but we are everywhere. And together we shall be adding the other half of the story in the workplace and in the home. Stories of caring, supporting, nourishing, planting, gardening, feeding, loving and cooking to balance out the stories of winning, competing, exploring, cutting, boosting, claiming, strategizing and achieving. We are adding gentle to ambition. Love to power. Purpose to results. Regeneration to process.


So next time you tell yourself to pull yourself together or stop caring so much about something think again. Are you really overreacting or is something out of balance here? Have you been sold half a story?


To success on our own terms,

Manuela Damant
Visionary Collective Leader at Azkua

At Azkua we are on a mission to turn businesses and organisations into a force for good. And we believe that it is professional women who will be at the forefront of this transformation. Purpose driven, caring, grounded and influential women like YOU!