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Friday, March 18, 2016

A WOMAN'S WORTH by Becky Paroz

by Becky Paroz

“ well-behaved woman seldom make history” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Strength is an interesting concept when discussed in our culture through the mediums of popular literature, movies and music.  It varies in many ways.  The interpretations are staggered from a woman getting revenge on a partner who “dun wrong” to reclaiming body ownership “shoulda put a ring on it”; recovering addicts and abuse victims; being an icon in a certain industry, particularly in non-traditional roles for females; and anything else you can think of, such as slaying vampires!

There are many examples of what one might consider to be a strong woman, and not everyone would agree with all the examples that another would use.
I don’t believe it is the actions, or the outcomes that make a strong woman.  I believe those aspects demonstrate the strength of a woman, but are not THE woman and are the positive results of her strengths. 

For example, a woman who has recovered from cancer – she is strong yes? Of course she is, certainly mentally.  But during the recovery period, this woman is not physically strong at all.  Her body has been ravaged, not only by disease, but also by the medications and side effects, the change in her life, how she views herself and how others now relate to her.  So one could conclude strength is not physically alone responsible for what we would call “a strong woman."

A woman who has an incredible successful career, but is unable to maintain an intimate relationship with a partner due to trauma experienced in childhood is clearly a survivor; however if she is unable to trust in herself to make wise choices, to have learned from her experience, and be able to trust a partner; does she have true strength no matter the heights climbed in her professional world?  Does feeling a lack in a certain emotional areas mean that strength is absent?  Success in any career is a measure of strength, determination and motivation.  Is this woman strong or not?

A woman who has a happy marriage, children, a comfortable existence but who never chooses to take up skydiving as a hobby, despite a wish to do so; ensuring her family comes first – is she strong or repressed for her choice?

These are tough questions with no correct answer to any of the above questions. There is only what we think, feel, and observe if we are not the party involved. For any of the parties involved, not having lived their choices and experiences, who are we to judge whether they are strong or not?

Tough women, strong women, come up with answers.  Sometimes, we choose to not make a decision and exist in a state of limbo; unable to change, too fearful to step forward, comfortable enough to not “rock the boat”; which is a form of choice.  But it certainly isn’t an answer.  From my observation, what makes a strong woman is the choice she makes when all available choices are not what she desires. A strong woman knows that perfection is an ideal to aspire to, not a physical goal able to be achieved. 

A strong woman knows that her value lays in the emotional management of her own self during times of turbulence; rough seas; extreme life events. A strong woman often knows that putting herself first is sometimes the strongest action that can be taken.  A strong woman knows that putting others first is the gift of strength she can contribute to a situation.  A strong woman makes a choice, takes action, obtains outcomes, and lives with the consequences knowing she did not compromise her values, her integrity, no matter what.

Answers are a conscious choice to be ‘this’ person, to act ‘this’ way, to put an order of priority around the important aspects of her life; and then ensures her thoughts, actions and outcomes, support those priorities.  She can search her own values and be clear on what they are.  A strong woman, regardless of what or why, knows that integrity is one of those values. In the face of adversity, it is those values, and that sense of integrity; it is the clarity of values and outcomes; that enable a strong woman to make the correct choice for her, no matter the consequences. No matter the view of others, no matter another’s opinion; a strong woman, does what she does, because her strength will allow her no peace until she does what needs to be done.

Because a strong woman also know that this is a world that is not kind to women, and it reserves a special kind of “feedback” for strong women. Whether it be politicians, musicians, writers; the office staff that support the cogs of the world turning; women who stick their head above the median level of being a “good” woman (girl) is in for a special kind of attention, some of which will not be pleasant.  Some of which may be down-right violent and threatening in nature.  Some of which may attack her personal life, her values and her strength, the very things she counts on to get her through events like these.

When the threats, the vitriol, the accusations, misinterpretation, depredations and dirt come out about a woman who stands strong in her position; she is not only unmovable, but she may become a force behind which others can rally.  She might be heard.  She might be seen.  She might cause change.  She will be noticed.

And therefore, she is a threat.   This occurs in microcosms like professional offices or community groups all the way through to global, corporate and celebrity macrocosms.  Women around our world are struggling to stay safe, to eat, survive, feed their children as a daily challenge; while yet other women struggle with equality, recognition, inclusion and representation.  In every part, every section of the world, every walk of life, race, religion and education; there are strong woman changing themselves, and therefore changing the world; piece by piece, little by little, person by person; day by day; action by action; using the strength of their integrity, vision, and values to keep themselves moving onwards.

You will know them because you will see them, hear them, be challenged by them and asked to take your place, beside other strong women.  We are everywhere. 


Becky Paroz
Becky Paroz has nearly 25 years experience in engineering, construction and project management. She has demonstrated her leadership skills through her involvement in graduate training programs and in house workshops for many of her employers. Her formal training as a performance coach allows her to generate learning outcomes that create lasting change.

She has recently added to her achievements by her contribution to these international magazines - Hussy Mag ( ), Inspirational Women Magazine ( ) and some of her articles have been translated into Spanish for the magazine Mujer Profesionista. El lado femenino del liderato (The Professional Women. The feminine side of leadership). 
She has co-authored 9 books so far and is currently working on 3 manuscripts on her own when she gets the time! 


FRIDAY FEATURES is a steady presence on Out of the Fog where I explore the concept of "strong women." Who are they? What makes them strong? How do we see them in writing and/or in business? If you're an author, what is their place in the world of thrillers of mysteries? If you're in business, how is the working environment impacted by the presence of a "strong woman" and how are they seen as leaders and team members? If you're an emerging strong woman, tell us about your journey. Have other questions you find compelling? Ask away and I'll post the answers here. 

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