By Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)
Gumption has got to be my new favourite word! I was watching the movie “The Holiday” again yesterday. I watched it a long time ago but thought I would see it with my mother since she is in Dubai visiting and had not seen it before. The movie has great characters and a very interesting plot. The old man, who used to be an Oscar-winning script-writer suggests to Kate Winslet to watch some old movies where the heroines are women with a lot of Gumption! The word just leaped at me the moment I heard it. I knew it had to be the subject of my next piece.
Last March, Dubai Women’s College (DWC) was celebrating International Women’s day. I was giving the closing speech at the event and had the chance to have a discussion with the president of DWC and the other speakers. One thing he said really striked me: Women thirty years ago had to fight in order to go places and climb to higher positions but today’s generation of young women seem to be “more attached to their Blackberries and handbags than their own future”!
This was a hard fact to hear and absorb. It got me wondering what exactly could have gone wrong? Is the new generation just happily riding the wave of success of the older generation? Are they getting everything so easily that they do not feel the need to make the effort anymore? Do they lack dreams and ambition? Do they feel that they cannot match the achievements of the women who have preceded them and whom they regard as their role models.
It could be a combination of all the above but one thing is for sure; some of them must lack “Gumption” which, according to dictionary.com means courage, guts, spunk, resourcefulness, aggressiveness, common sense and shrewdness.
So naturally, some questions would pop up at this stage like when did today’s young female generation decide to be gumptionless and why?
When did appearances really start replacing the need of having an ambition and a vision of who you want to become? It seems as long as you look the way you are expected to, behave in a way that your peers find impressive and you start getting what you want there is no need to look further or go elsewhere! There is a box that these young girls seem to have found themselves in but it is self-built; tailor-made to their own short-sightedness.
I believe that the entire future of a nation depends on women. Margaret Thatcher once said: “ If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman”. So how can we rely on future generations to lead the way when the majority lacks initiative, courage, ambition and basically gumption?
Today’s issues do not require yesterday’s solutions. So if yesterday’s solutions are not working, today’s generation of women need to use their imagination and resourcefulness in order to create a vision that best suits the future they want to create.
There is a way to be trendy, cool and beautiful and have gumption at the same time. One does not exclude the other. In order to be the best female version of themselves, women need to honour both their male and feminine sides, their yin and yang. Remove the masks that women probably had to wear in the past in order to succeed and take advantage of their gumption and femininity at the same time. There is definitely a way to marry both that will differ from one individual to the other. One size will not fit all but when imagination and passion come together great visions can be created and then all that is needed is some gumption to keep moving forward.
May 2011’s issue:
Her strongly positive nature and calm demeanor enables her to gently draw out a person’s full potential as she helps them get in touch with their passions, find their purpose and LEAP into a truly fulfilling and extraordinary life.
Women who are at a crossroads in life, young women ‘Entreprenettes’ and teenagers have all found a strong guide in Rawan who has helped them discover the life skills needed to begin the new phases in their life with confidence.