I saw a TikTok creator say this week that in order for her, as a petite blond woman, to be taken seriously, she has to do things like speak slowly, not smile, raise her chair to the highest setting at the table so she’s level with the other people, respond curtly to comments on her appearance or shock that she’s capable, and modulate her voice lower when speaking. A firm handshake, an introduction with first and last name and refusing to take notes are a few more of her ‘tips’ for women wanting to be taken seriously. Now, this isn’t exactly a hot take – we live in a patriarchal society, with a large gender gap in leadership and yes, the marginalized have always benefited from adapting their communication style to the dominant group – but I’m so tired of women having to perform in any way at all, of having to mask up, alter their nature and act like men just to get a seat at the table. I used to think this way too and will still sometimes counsel my clients on adopting dominant communication tactics if they fit the situation, but more and more, we are working to have women express themselves just as they are, and move through the spaces not as some altered, masculinized version of themselves, but as their true selves. We know that representation matters, so to get more women in leadership, we need more women to show up. We don’t need to be men, we need to be women and demonstrate that we too, can lead. Wear the dress. Wear the colours. Stand out. Speak up. We need you.