Episode Transcript

Today is International Women’s Day and we are going to talk about that.

Hey everyone, what’s up? Happy Sunday. And if you don’t happen to listen to it on a Sunday, happy whatever day that is for you. Today’s International Women’s Day, March 8th. And if you’ve been following me for a while, you know them. I tend to acknowledge it every single year.

And today we have something really, really special. Because I have asked the women of our community – the InFluency community – to say something to other women who struggle with expressing themselves in English, and are still afraid to communicate.

Now, why am I discussing this on International Women’s Day? I’m going to talk about that in just a sec. I do recommend that you actually watch the video cause it has a lot of visuals and it might not make as much sense in audio, but I still decided to share it with you here. Because I wanted to say a few things about that here on the episode.

And I actually planned to start with this like empowering message, but today’s Friday and I came here to record the intro for the podcast, and International Women’s Day is in two days. And as I woke up, I opened my news app. Big mistake, by the way, I try not to do it in the morning.

But I don’t know what went through my head, and I decided to just take a sneak peak, probably all the Corona-virus scare. I wanted to see what is up with that. And what I saw on the news broke my heart. I might just start crying just talking about it.

Because I saw this news item in our local news that a man, 37 years old, stabbed his wife and his two children – one year and three years old. And I don’t know, like right now they are in critical condition in the hospital. And, um, and I, it just devastated me.

First, because just to think about that poor woman and the poor kids having to experience such an unheard of, unthought of, unimaginable situation. And I pray that they survive this. And even if they do, like what life is ahead of them is expecting. Like that one-year-old and that three-year-old, knowing that, having gone through that experience. I mean, it’s just unbearable.

And it’s two days before International Women’s Day. And domestic violence is everywhere. It’s huge, and it’s not reported. It’s happening all the time in all cultures. It’s easy to think that or it’s, you know, like if you are privileged and, you know, it’s easy to say, “Oh, it happens in such and such cultures. It doesn’t happen to us”. It’s everywhere.

And because it’s International Women’s Day, I wanted to talk about it cause I know I have a lot of female listeners, a lot of women. And this message is for you because I hope it’s not relevant to you. Okay. I hope what I’m saying right now is something that you might be able to say to women around you. So it’s not something that you’re experiencing.

But if you happen to listen to this and you feel unsafe at home. And if, God forbid, you suffer from violence, and maybe you have kids and you’re afraid to leave, but there is help waiting for you out there. You just need to speak up.

And that’s actually the theme of today’s episode – to speak up, in English. But the thing is that you have to speak up in your native language as well. If you’re afraid and you’re afraid because of what people are going to think or what your husband or partner or boyfriend is going to think, if you leave or if you say that, “No, I don’t deserve this, I am not willing to put up with this”.

If you’re afraid of what they are going to think, then you have made a conscious decision that you don’t matter. And I want to tell you that you matter, you are important and you deserve a good life, okay?

So if you suffer from violence at home or abuse – leave, speak up, seek for aid, call the police if you need. Okay? Because when it starts small, it usually escalates. When it starts small with a slap or verbal abuse, it usually doesn’t get a lot better without treatment. And if you’re not at a stage where you go to therapy or handle it with more people involved, then at some point it might escalate.

That poor woman, I’m sure it’s not the first time, that something happened before she got stabbed. It’s a result of just not speaking up, and being quiet, and being afraid. And now she and her two poor babies are paying the price.

So, I hope this message gets to you. And I hope you know that you deserve to speak up. And if you see women around you who suffer, don’t let them stay quiet. Support them, show them love and tell them that they can speak up as well.

And now we’ll have the transition to speaking English because the recording I have for you today is about speaking up. And thankfully, it’s not just me talking. It’s your sisters from around the world.

The reason why we wanted to make that video is, and I talk about a little bit at the beginning of the recording, is that after this long intro, you see that women have a tendency of self-silencing – as a result of oppression that has been in our society for decades and decades and decades.

So, women have taken that position and started silencing themselves and not speaking up because of society. Right? And when that happens, they feel that words don’t matter, in their native language.

And then when they come to speak English, where you face all the challenges of speaking a second language, where men and women experience the same thing, all genders, then what we experience as women in our own culture manifests in English tenfolds.

Because in English it’s even worse: the judgment, the perfectionism, the fear of speaking, the fear of not coming across as intelligent, or as coming across as stupid, the need to prove ourselves, all of that. And then it becomes paralyzing, like you just don’t want to speak.

Now, I have talked a lot about it in my episode about the Impostor Syndrome, which if you haven’t listened to, I highly encourage you to go back and listen to it because it sheds a lot of light as to how we behave as human beings. And it gives us permission to experience that too, because it’s not just you, it’s the entire world.

So I share with you a few tips there about how to handle it, how to deal with it. But here, I just want you to know that some of the things that you’re experiencing is a result of how women have been treated for decades.

The oppression of men, primarily, of women upon themselves, women silencing themselves, and other women in power, who don’t support other women because they assume the position of the man or of the male in the workplace, especially in the workplace.

In her book “Lean in”, Sheryl Sandberg says, “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women”. And I highly support that.

Anyway, with that, let’s move on to the empowering message by global women from our community – the InFluency community – women who are non-native speakers from around the world, who had their own battle with confidence, and fear of speaking, and fluency, and clarity, and they have persisted through.

And they have, even if they haven’t master it completely, they show up every single day speaking English, battling those fears and supporting other women around them.

And again, you can watch this video. It’s a lot more fun to watch the video on my YouTube channel Accent’s Way English with Hadar, or on my IGTV – @hadar.accentsway. So let’s listen.

Women have been silenced for decades and generations. It’s in our DNA. We don’t live in an equal society, and women’s voices are not being heard enough. As a result, women tend to be perfectionists, overly judgmental, and need to work a lot harder to prove themselves and to succeed.

And when it comes to English, the fear of speaking up becomes paralyzing when you’re a non-native speaker.

This message is for you from your sisters around the world.

– A happy day to all the women all around the world.

– Hello, beautiful women out there.

– Hey, beautiful ladies.

– Hello, hello to our great women. Happy women’s day.

– One of my dream for us is the day that each woman has the freedom to choose their life.

– What would you say to a woman who doesn’t ask for a promotion, apply for a better job, afraid to speak in meetings, doesn’t travel, doesn’t speak because she fails?

– “My English, it’s not good enough. I’m not fluent. It’s not my mother tongue, so how could I ever speak it properly? I should just not speak because if I make mistake, I will end up being a joke.”

How many times have you said that to yourself? Stop. Stop focusing so much on your faults and start celebrating that you communicated successfully. It’s not a measure of your intelligence. It’s just a language.

– All women, and all around the world are beautiful.

– Today, I want you to think real hard about the one glass ceiling that you like to shatter, that you like to break. And be about small things, you know, just baby steps, but also something huge like becoming, you know, the first female president in your own country.

– I know you’re afraid of speaking up and being judged. Don’t let your negative thoughts drive your actions.

– If you ever felt helpless, speechless, underestimated… All these things, they don’t define who you truly are.

– Belief in yourself and go for it. You can do it.

– Please, believe in yourself. Believe that you deserve the good things, and you have the right to speak up, to bring your ideas to the world.

– You may think that you don’t have any talent or you’re not worthy, or you don’t speak that much. You are wonderful because you are you.

– Do what you want, not what others want you to do. Don’t let anyone set boundaries for you based on your gender. You can do anything. Be proud of yourself.

– About a year into working on my English, I felt a bit stuck. I didn’t really feel any improvement. I was frustrated. But then one day, I found some old recordings of me, and not only that my pronunciation has improved, but also my intonation got so much better. And the most important thing – my confidence. Don’t give up, keep putting in the work and the results will come.

– Please, don’t be afraid to speak English. If you feel your English isn’t good enough to communicate, to participate in a meeting, be proud of how hard you are trying.

– At the beginning, I listened to my voice and I hated my voice. I hated it. But with Hadar’s support and discipline, I love my voice now. Yes, I do. I want you to empower your voice because you can do it, too.

– Support other women when you see them doing something great. We need each other.

– And we need to help each other, and we need to be proud, and be an example for our children.

– This message is for all the women who are afraid of losing their English. They think they are not up to scratch, and therefore, they are losing opportunities. I was ashamed myself of speaking, but here I am. I could travel, everybody understood me. The same will happen to you. So don’t be afraid to speak up. Just do it. Good luck.

– When I think about the strong woman, I immediately think about my friend Leila, who at the age of 14 was married off in Iran and came here to the United States. When I met Leila, her English was poor, she couldn’t communicate really well. But what I admire about her is that not even for a second, did she think that’s an obstacle. She wasn’t afraid to follow her dreams, and she didn’t think that a lack of some knowledge was gonna stop her.

– You can become an athlete, a housewife, an actress, a scientist, a mother, a surgeon, a pilot.

– So, just think about it and do it. Yes, you can. Yay!

– You’ll find the power that is only you.

– You can do it.

– Just fight as hard as you can.