By Kirsten Anderson | Founder, Equitas Solutions

There is a negative connotation when it comes to the idea of making demands. This is understandable because "demands" are usually associated with a last resort mentality and sense of entitlement. People would much rather be associated with making requests rather than demands. The emotional associations with these words are starkly different - anyone can process requests but far fewer can or will listen to and process demands. 

By mere definition, demands denote attention: "an insistent and peremptory request, made as if by right." What is wrong with making reasonable and rational demands? No one would argue that reasonable and rational demands are out of line – it is not an oxymoron. Demanding a higher salary to match your male counterparts is reasonable. Demanding your employer address an unethical situation that’s arisen is rational. Demanding your manager address a co-worker’s repeated inappropriateness is also reasonable.

We should all choose our words carefully, and I dare say it is time to be a bit bolder in our way of thinking and handling work if women are to ever nudge the needle of equality forward. It’s not revolutionary, it’s simply going after what you and your co-workers deserve. It’s preservation of an institution you value so much that you spend, on average, 90,000 hours or one-third of your life at. Work is a sacred thing – a second home – for most so why not be emboldened to make your experience the most positive it can be? 

We have inherent demands in other aspects of our lives. We demand the food we order at a restaurant be germ-free. We demand prompt help when calling a customer service number. We demand reliability when we log onto any Wi-fi channel we use. Why can’t we demand a little more of our workplaces and recognize that our safety, security, and productivity are worth the reasonable and rational demands? 

If you did not recognize this before, you should now. You are worth it! Choose your words carefully and demand what you deserve.

Kirsten Anderson is on a mission to end workplace harassment through education. She found herself an unlikely advocate for those facing harassment in the workplace after she took a stand against her former employer: the state of Iowa. On May 17, 2013, she was fired from her job as communications director for Iowa Senate Republicans after filing her fourth complaint about repeated harassment and retaliatory behavior by staff and lawmakers at the Iowa Statehouse. She sued the state of Iowa and Iowa Senate Republicans for wrongful termination, harassment and retaliation, and won. Anderson has a degree in broadcast journalism and is a 2008 Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute graduate. She’s president-elect of the Central Iowa chapter of the Association of Women in Communications and in her free time enjoys sharing the hilarious random things her 8-year-old son says and attending any live music show with her husband. She can be reached at Kirsten@KirstenAnderson.org.