One of my clients thought it would be interesting if I wrote about the differences in the women I meet in the countries I visit. I was on my way to Kazakhstan so I promised to write a post on Kazakh women.
I spent two weeks teaching emotional intelligence and leadership classes in the two major cities, Astana and Almaty. Astana became the capital after the fall of the Soviet Union when Kazakhstan became independent. The new architecture rivals Dubai. The country has many natural resources, including oil and gold, and the leaders are working hard to have their city recognized as an emerging power in Central Asia and eventually, the world.
Almaty on the other hand, is a modernized city built on ancient roots. For hundreds of years, it was a trading center on the Silk Road, connecting Asia with Europe through Russia. There is more of a Soviet influence in the buildings but the city is still growing and expanding.
Yet even with these differences, I found little to share on this blog that would give you a sense of the women that is different from you and all the women I know in the western world. The women are not as aggressive as the Russian and Chinese business women I have met, but their dreams and ambitions mirror ours. The younger women seek to be educated. If they can’t accomplish what they want working for someone else, they are searching for ways to make it on their own. Their personality styles have a range just like us. If they work in corporations, they face difficulties in getting promoted at the top levels, like us. They struggle balancing work and family. Their men aren’t much help, like many of us. They hope for new opportunities for themselves and their children in the future. Don’t we?
So I can’t write a blog on how we differ. I can only write on how we are the same.
When I wrote Wander Woman, I had a sense that I was talking about an emerging identity of women around the world. As we become more educated, more economically self-sufficient, and more confident in our skills and knowledge, we become more restless, wanting more for ourselves. We can accomplish more, and want to, whether we are sure what more is or not. But our drive, and ambition, is real. It is just that sometimes we are just not sure how and where to best channel this energy.
I have met Wander Women in every corner of the globe. They love hearing there are other women like them—like you. They feel relieved and encouraged that they are not alone.
And yes, there are other women less restless and independent in Kazakhstan than those who seek to achieve something special, like many of our friends, colleagues and neighbors.
I might be biased, but I see women as representing a global community. If we can come to know how much we are alike in our hopes and struggles, maybe we can recognize how much we need each other to create the possibilities that lead to realizing our dreams. We can create a positive conspiracy of change if we care enough.
Can you imagine a world where women could realize their full potential wherever they lived? WOW. Can you do something to help make this so?