Have you ever noticed how often we women end up apologising for actions that are so harmless, so run of the mill, that no one should have to be, or say sorry for?
Thriving neck deep in a patriarchal society, being apologetic is a trait so deeply ingrained in us, that we hardly ever stop to think, why do we have to be in a constant state of reproach towards ourselves for expressing our views or for making ourselves heard?
Of course, in our heads, being polite doesn't hurt, and more often than not it's not something we're doing consciously. Constantly apologising, and second guessing your convictions, gives off the impression that you are unsure of yourself, and the opinion you're voicing. And that is something that women in professional spheres and in leadership capacities just cannot afford.
To do away with this norm of women second guessing themselves, the amazing people at Cyrus Innovation have come up with Just Not Sorry, a plug in for Gmail that prevents you from using words and phrases that undermine what you have to say in emails.
The Just Not Sorry extension, which is downloadable at the Chrome app store, underlines self-demeaning phrases like “I’m no expert” and qualifying words like “actually” in red when you're typing out an email, like they’re spelling errors.
When you hover your mouse over the words with the squiggly red underline, you’ll see explanatory quotes from women like Tara Mohr (“‘Just’ demeans what you have to say. ‘Just’ shrinks your power.”) and Sylvia Ann Hewlett (“Using sorry frequently undermines your gravitas and makes you appear unfit for leadership”).
Tami Reiss, the CEO of Cyrus Innovation, felt the need to do away with the intrinsic cultural communication patterns that undermined the ideas of women. She observed that entrepreneurial women were softening their speech in situations that called for directness and leadership.
As women who run businesses and lead teams, it is extremely pertinent that the language employed exudes that confidence that comes with being in their positions.
The primary reason why women have adopted these speech and writing patterns is because, historically, we have been discouraged from being as vocal and demanding as our male counterparts. We've been socialized for the longest time, to be the submissive, the coy, the weaker lot.
This application aims to put an end to the culture that is erosive of self confidence in work spaces, and encourages women to own themselves and their opinions.