“Having a sense of purpose is having a sense of self. A course to plot is a destination to hope for” – American author Bryant H. McGill
As the Lunar New Year starts, we felt inspired to take a step back from the bustle and din of the previous year and re-visit the fundamentals of why TWF is committed to building a gender equal Hong Kong. To do that, the TWF team held an offsite to re-connect with our ‘why’.
The concept of ‘why’ is eloquently explained by motivational speaker and author Simon Sinek in his book and TED Talk Start With Why. He argues that every organisation knows ‘what’ they do and most know ‘how’ they do it. But surprisingly few know ‘why’ the organisation does what it does. The ‘why’ is not about making a profit; rather, the ‘why’ signifies your purpose, cause or belief. It also determines why your organisation exists and why your customers or supporters should care.
“People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it”, Simon said. Therefore, understanding why you are doing it in the first place is essential. This ‘why’ is no less critical when working on issues of social justice. For us, the answer is simple: changing the status quo is the reason TWF exists.
At the heart of our mission to improve the lives of women and girls is our objective to challenge gender stereotypes that are at the root of so many constraints that women and girls face.
2019 marks the 15 year anniversary of The Women’s Foundation. We have seen many changes over the years and more recently we are seeing powerful shifts and rising voices for change: the #MeToo movement has helped spark wider conversation about gender equality; people are starting to recognise that gender stereotypes affect everyone; men and boys are engaging in discussions on gender equality and there is wider recognition that gender equality benefits all of us – not just women.
I firmly believe that the TWF community can continue to lead positive change in Hong Kong, and inspire others across Asia and globally. In the coming years, we will continue to focus and act on our ‘why’ – to champion gender diversity, to empower more women and girls and tackle the challenges and inequalities that they face across Hong Kong society; and to engage with men and boys so that we all understand the ways in which gender equality benefits everyone and work together towards achieving this goal.
Start with why - it’s a helpful exercise for organisations, but it is an equally powerful exercise for an individual. Each of us can pause and reflect on what drives us—both in our daily lives and at work. We can then use this knowledge to centre and motivate our actions towards greater purpose.
What is the ‘why’ behind your work?