Helping Women Make Their Voices Heard

Tabby Biddle

Once Tabby Biddle found her inner power and spoke out about human rights abuses on behalf of women and girls, her next step was obvious, help other women speak out to make their voices heard. That’s how she became a coach in support of women with a message for the TEDx stage. Four years ago, when Tabby shared her life story in her own TEDx presentation, she learned that only 17% of TED speakers were women. She was given three main reasons for the discrepancy: they had trouble finding women speakers; women were more likely to say no, and women were more likely to back out. Tabby had trouble believing these were the real reasons, so she began her own research from the trenches, working with women to prepare them, not just for the TEDx stage, but to communicate their legacy and speak out to change the world in ways that will support those who come after them.

Why Women Play Small—Overcoming Their Own Gender Bias

Tabby said that women put up hundreds of barriers to taking a stand on the TEDx stage. She’s heard excuses like,

  • Am I qualified enough?
  • Will anyone care what I have to say?
  • Hasn’t this all been said before?

Then there’s the usual:

  • I’m too busy now.
  • I’m totally overwhelmed with work and family.

Tabby explains that all of these reasons are a front for a woman’s lack of self-confidence and desire to continue to play small. When women put themselves out there on the TEDx stage, they show their vulnerabilities, which many have hidden to play in the man’s world of strength and power, while hiding their own inner-power and feminine leadership skills. They have allowed their vulnerabilities to keep them in their place, playing the “good girl,” who is liked by everyone and feels comfortable staying where cultural bias keeps her. It’s less risky, and fits what other people have told them to think about themselves and where they belong in the world.

100 Women in Hollywood Claim Their Power

Last year, Tabby teamed up with Elisa Parker, founder of See Jane Do, to direct Take the Lead’s signature program, 50 Women Can Change the World in Media and Entertainment.  A cross section of 50 women from the creative side of media and from the executive and agency sides were nominated to participate, learn and adapt Gloria Feldt’s Nine Power Tools for their industry. The cohort completely changed many of their lives. Tabby said their network switched from being 98% men who they asked for work to 80% women who referred them or who they referred for work. The rewards were they finally claimed their power from within and built a community where they could honestly speak their mind and heart. Tabby said the program catapulted many of their careers—they are hiring each other, and winning awards they never even got nominated for prior to 50 Women.

The evolution of 50 Women Can for Tabby and Elisa was a day-long retreat for women leaders working at the forefront of gender equity, inclusion and diversity in Hollywood. Many groups and organizations were working for the same thing but doing it in isolation from one another and carrying it out in different ways. The day-long retreat, known as 100 Women Can Change Hollywood, helped them build their lines of trust and develop friendships and relationships that allowed them to find ways they could further align and collaborate. The women were very grateful to have this safe, all-women community where they could be creative about ways to help women in Hollywood claim their power and create equitable opportunities for women to tell their stories.

Next Step—Getting Men as Allies

Tabby said that as much as we’ve talked about needing an all female-centered group, we’re also at a point where we need to build partnerships with men from the female perspective. And, she added, there are a lot of men in the industry who want to work for gender equity, but are afraid of making a mistake or saying the wrong thing. Not only that, they want to be with other men working toward the same thing.

The next step is a program for 100 People—Women and Men—designed in a way that allows each group to meet separately for three months, and then come together for a final three months. Both male and female speakers will address the groups, and a university has been approached for hosting and documenting the progress. Tabby and Dr. Nancy both think it will be a landmark event. It will be the first time a group of this nature has used the balance of the masculine and the feminine to work toward such an important goal that affects us all. Tabby predicts that having seen the communities formed by both 50 Women and 100 Women, this new community of male allies directed from the feminine perspective will have powerful results.

Listen to this conversation to learn more about Tabby’s plans to advance women and how she can help you make your voice heard. Tabby says that every story is told from different life experiences, so each is unique and powerful and needs to be heard by someone new. Check out her website, buy her book, Find Your Voice: A Women’s Call to Action, and watch for new TED online classes or contact Tabby for personal coaching.

Order Dr. Nancy’s new book or pick it up at your book store

Tabby’s work to help women speak out on the TED stage is discussed in Nancy’s new book, In This Together: How Successful Women Support Each Other In Work and Life. Her ideas are expressed, along with thoughts, inspiration, and stories from 40 successful women across a variety of careers—from authors to actresses, CEOs and professors—encouraging women to support each other in the workplace and in life. Learn about action plans on how all women can work together to break free from the binds of gender inequality. Then remember to get your copy – and gifts for your friends.

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