Women in PM Leadership

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Behind every great woman there can be a great man

Role Models for Women: Why are they important

Our yesteryear grandmothers’ strength, an inspiration for today.

“My name is Steve” / "Mi nombre es Steve"

Come see the world from up here

Behind every great woman there can be a great man

A beautiful dawn when I was 6 years old my father woke my eldest sister and me up to announce us that we had a new little sister. By that time ultrasounds did not exist yet, so the doctor told my father about the birth and he later apologized, jokingly, about the gender. I had a new sister. My father, who was very grateful, said: “three girls… boys will come with time”.   

My mother was studying a technical career in the construction industry then. It was her second year and she was almost the only woman at the school. Since she was giving birth, she missed a test that day.  Once she was able to return, the teacher, a man, told her, “I had to put you the lowest mark” and with a proud tone he added, “Have you seen how that lowers your average score? “

She was a very tenacious woman and continues to be nowadays. She had decided to start that path to help my father who was a Civil Engineer.  After the delivery, the routine changed and every day, me and my family went to her school with my little sister for my mom to breastfeed her.  Two years later she got the degree with a gold medal. It was given by Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat 1 - a executive Argentinian women, school ‘sponsor -. Since then my mother worked not only next to my father but by her own until her retirement.

My mother was undoubtedly my inspiration. My father bought me a home computer in the early eighties to evaluate my vocation. When he asked me if I was sure about my career choice as a woman – he was conscious about gender inequity, not me -, I knew that it was possible because that was what she had taught me.  While my father was afraid to send me to another city to live alone being seventeen years old to study, my mom didn’t hesitate and sent me.  When I got my degree in Systems Engineer my father was emotionally touched.  I later formed my own family with a supportive husband like him, having my own three girls, working all the time with passion and enthusiasm.

A sad sunset three months ago was my turn to announce to my sisters and my mother that my father could not wake up anymore. I hugged my great mother and sisters, and I felt that great man with us. Immediately, every member of the family had self-assigned a duty, and I felt the necessity of writing the obituary for the local newspaper. 

As an engineer, teacher by vocation and a very active member in social institutions, he had developed in his local and regional community a very extensive activity. I was afraid of not being able to honor him in the short period of time that I had. But I recalled an old folder where he was collecting all the local clippings where he had been mentioned. As if he had foreseen facilitating my task, I found in the same place his professional transcript, course certificates, awards and handwritten drafts. As I read, I was able to understand him as a young man, his hopes, desires and concerns, his battles promoting the professional ethic, constructions laws modernization and school foundations. And then, through notes and discourses written when he was retired, I discovered his nostalgy and pride due to his achievements and results. 

Nothing on those papers was new to me. Neither it was to receive a condolence remembering him like a “creative and free ship captain!” or to see the blackboard on his room with his last attempts to learn another language or his recent history courses certificates. But it was a real surprise for everybody to find poems written by himself. Beautiful poems that told us about his reflections about being a father, the family, love, life and being in peace.

The review of his long trajectory and his pride gave me the strength, without hesitation, - as well as my mother's strength -  to return immediately, carrying all my immense pain, to my IT complex projects that continue without any compassion advancing steadily.

Since then his enthusiasm and passion for the action and the knowledge combined with the sentimentalism and generosity, beats – now consciously - in my heart. 

As women, we know that we dont need a man to pursue our dreams. But it becomes easier and more harmonic if we count on them.  And I am sure that in the same way that we have a positive influence in them, they can influence us with their example and with their unconditional support.

So, we can say, with no shame and with pride, that behind a great woman there can be a great man.

María del Rosario Valicente 

In memorian to  Eng. Cesar V. Valicente. (Argentina 1931-2019) 

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/María_Amalia_Lacroze_de_Fortabat

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Detrás de una gran mujer puede haber un gran hombre.

Un bello amanecer, cuando tenía 6 años, mi papá me despertó a mi hermana y a mí, para anunciarnos que había llegado una hermanita. Entonces no había ecógrafos, asi que el médico anunció al mismo tiempo el nacimiento, y casi como como disculpándose en broma, el género. Mi papá se sintió agradecido de que todo hubiera salido bien y dijo: “ Tres niñas, los varones llegarán con el tiempo”.

Por aquel entonces, mi madre estudiaba una carrera técnica en la industria de la construcción. Estaba en su Segundo año y era casi la única mujer en la escuela. Debido al parto ella faltó a un examen. Al volver, un profesor, como si estuviera orgulloso y contento por ello le dijo, “Le tuve que poner un cero. Notó como le bajé el promedio?”

Ella era una mujer muy tenaz y continúa siéndolo. Había decidido iniciar ese camino para ayudar a mi papá que era Ingeniero Civil. Después del parto, la rutina cambió y todos los días, toda la familia iba a la escuela para que mi mamá pudiera amamantar a mi hermanita. Dos años más tarde ella tuvo su graduación con medalla de oro y otorgada por Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat  – importante empresaria argentina, patrocinadora de esa escuela. Desde entonces trabajó de su profesión, no solo junto a mi padre sino por su cuenta, hasta su jubilación.

Sin duda, fue mi inspiración. Mi padre me compró una computadora hogareña en los ochenta para evaluar mi vocación y cuando me preguntó si estaba segura de la carrera – él era consciente acerca de la inequidad de género, no yo – supe que era posible por mi mamá. Cuando él tuvo miedo de enviarme a vivir y estudiar a otra ciudad a mis 17 años, mi mamá no dudó y me envió. Cuando me gradué de ingeniera de sistemas, mi papá estaba notablemente emocionado.  Luego formé mi propia familia con mi esposo, teniendo mis propias tres niñas y trabajando con entusiasmo y pasión.

Un triste atardecer de hace tres meses fue mi turno de anunciarles a mis hermanas y mi madre que mi padre no despertaría más. Abracé a esta gran mujer y a mis hermanas y pude sentir a aquel gran hombre con nosotras. Inmediatamente cada uno de los miembros de la familia se autoasignó una tarea.  En mi caso, sentí la necesidad de escribir su recordatorio para el diario.

Como ingeniero, docente por vocación y miembro activo de instituciones sociales, su actividad en la comunidad local y regional en la que se había desempeñado había sido tan intensa y diversa que temía que no le iba a poder rendir el honor que se merecía en el corto tiempo que disponía. Decidí recurrir a un viejo álbum donde iba guardando recortes de diarios con notas que le habían hecho y, como si hubiera previsto facilitarme la tarea, estaban apilados en el mismo lugar, su legajo docente, su actividad profesional, certificados, reconocimientos y escritos. La lectura de hechos permitía desentrañar sus anhelos, sus preocupaciones, sus luchas por la ética profesional, reformas de leyes y fundaciones de escuelas. Mientras que las notas más recientes y discursos preparados para aniversarios descubrían su nostalgia y orgullo por los logros alcanzados. Nada del contenido de todos esos papeles y escritos eran novedosos para mí.  Tampoco el haber recibido entre las muestras de afecto y condolencias que lo recordaran como el capitán de un barco libre y creativo. Ni el pizarrón con los últimos intentos de practicar inglés. Lo que realmente nos sorprendió a todos fue encontrar recientes poemas, borradores y pasados en limpio, en los que reflexionaba sobre la felicidad de ser padre, del amor, de la vida, de irse en paz.

Fue seguro el haber repasado su vida profesional, su pasión y su orgullo - así como la fortaleza de mi madre - lo que me dio fuerzas para no dudar en retomar a los pocos días, arrastrando todo mi dolor, mis proyectos complejos de IT que no daban tregua.

Desde entonces, su entusiasmo por el saber y la acción, así como el sentimentalismo y su generosidad, laten - ahora conscientemente – en mi corazón.

Como mujeres, no necesitamos un hombre para cumplir nuestros sueños. Pero con su apoyo puede resultar más fácil y armónico.  Y así como nosotras influímos en ellos positivamente, ellos pueden haber influído con su ejemplo o con su soporte incondicional.

Podemos decir entonces, sin avergonzarnos y con orgullo, que detrás de toda gran mujer, puede haber también un gran hombre.

María del Rosario Valicente

In memorian Ingeniero Cesar V. Valicente. (Argentina,1931-2019) 

Posted by María del Rosario Valicente on: October 06, 2019 11:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Role Models for Women: Why are they important

Leadership positions does not turn people who hold them into leaders. Becoming a leader is a construction process where your own identity as a leader is construct through time and validated by others that recognize you as a leader. Like a virtuous cycle, others recognition and reaffirmation of your own leadership capacity reinforce your self-confidence and encourage you to further seek leadership and growth opportunities. Leaders identity is also founded by a strong sense of purpose. This sense of purpose motivates people to push their limits in the road of pursuing their objectives and dreams. When leaders are connected with larger purposes, people around them, sharing similar values, trust them and also get connected to larger purposes. This help people find a meaning to their work, hence motivation.
 
Considering this, we find that role models play an important part in modeling our own identity as leaders. People learn new roles by imitating and experimenting traits and behaviors we see and admire in others. Besides, seeing other actions as leaders being validated and approved by others offers an example of how a leader should be and act and give us guidance. Recent studies suggest that women benefit from same-gender role models more than men do. In the case of women seeking to advance in their positions, finding role models in organizations with under-representation of women in upper levels is by all means difficult. Women development as leaders also faces a double bind since what is seen as self- confidence and assertion in a man is sometimes seen as authoritarian and aggressive in women and very often they are considered either too aggressive or not confident enough. This is why having women role models in organizations could be very useful in facilitating other women find their identity as leaders and encouraging them to take risks and advance in their leadership positions.
 
Role models help us see our potential. They inspire us and help us increase our self-confidence and ambition. But where can we find role models when women in senior level roles in our organization is scarce?
 
I particularly find myself very often reading stories about women who made a difference in their field or community through history. Mostly unknown women for me until I read about them and their courageous and admirable stories. It also works for me to keep me signed up to or to follow on social media pages, blogs, communities or people that share interesting content related to women empowerment and gender equality. YouTube has ton of great material to explore too. I recently find great inspiration and motivation in an entrepreneurship program designed exclusively for women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields. Being part of a group of strong, powerful, smart and proactive women really made me feel empowered. Thus, communities or groups of interest are great places to find motivation and opportunities to work on the abilities or skills we want to develop. Likewise, you can find mentors there or in specific organizations that work to help women develop the skills we need.
Of note, role models should be attainable, someone who have achieved a status that is reachable and attainable in our minds, otherwise a role model could have a negative effect and be demoralizing. Real world, known and closed women are a good example of role models too. Personally, I find inspiration in a friend and colleague, Mariela, a pharmacist who recently engaged in Doctors Without Borders and left Buenos Aires to go to a mission in Guinea Bissau. Another friend of mine from childhood, Virginia, a 40-year-old mother of two, who went back to college to finish her undergraduate studies after 8 years of quitting them to stay at home and raise her children. Both life stories represent to me, like many other stories of women out there that we do not know, women pursuing a dream, women with an inspirational purpose, a desire, objective or even a quest for finding a deeper meaning in what they do and expect from life. Brave women giving their most, pushing their limits and serving as models to many others. Just looking into my owns roots, women like my grandmother and beloved sister.

 

Spanish version 


Modelos a seguir para las mujeres: ¿Por qué son importantes?
 
Las posiciones de liderazgo no convierten en líderes a las personas que las poseen. Convertirse en un líder es un proceso de construcción en el que la identidad propia de cada uno como líder se va construyendo y es validada por otros que nos reconocen como líderes en el tiempo. Cual círculo virtuoso, el reconocimiento y la reafirmación de nuestra propia capacidad de liderazgo por parte de terceros refuerza nuestra autoconfianza y nos alienta a seguir buscando oportunidades de liderazgo y crecimiento. La identidad de los líderes también se basa en un fuerte sentido del propósito. Este sentido del propósito impulsa a las personas a superar sus límites en el camino de la consecución de sus objetivos y sueños. Cuando los líderes están conectados con propósitos más profundos, las personas a su alrededor que comparten valores similares, confían en ellos y también se conectan con propósitos más profundos. Esto contribuye a que las personas encuentren un sentido a su trabajo y, por lo tanto, motivación.
 
Teniendo en cuenta esto, encontramos que los modelos a seguir o referentes juegan un papel importante en el modelado de nuestra propia identidad como líderes. Las personas aprendemos nuevos roles imitando y experimentando rasgos y comportamientos que vemos y admiramos en los demás. Además, ver las acciones de líderes que están siendo validadas y aprobadas por otros nos brinda un ejemplo de cómo un líder debe ser y actuar y nos sirve de guía. Estudios recientes sugieren que las mujeres se benefician más que los hombres de los modelos a seguir del mismo género. En el caso de las mujeres que buscan avanzar en su posición laboral, encontrar modelos a seguir en organizaciones con baja representación de mujeres en cargos superiores puede llegar a ser muy difícil. Por otro lado, el desarrollo del liderazgo en las mujeres también se enfrenta a lo que se denomina una encrucijada, ya que lo que es considerado autoconfianza y asertividad en las acciones de un hombre a veces es considerado autoritarismo y agresividad en las acciones de una mujer y, muy a menudo, se las considera o demasiado agresivas o sin la suficiente autoridad. Esta es una de las razones por las cuales encontrar modelos de mujeres líderes en las organizaciones podría ser muy útil para ayudar a que otras mujeres exploren y descubran su identidad como líderes y se animen a asumir riesgos y progresar en su posición laboral.


Un referente o modelo a seguir nos ayuda a ver nuestro potencial. Nos inspira y nos ayuda a aumentar nuestra autoconfianza y nuestra ambición. Pero, ¿dónde podemos encontrar modelos a seguir cuando en nuestra organización son escasas las mujeres con cargos de nivel superior?
 
Particularmente me encuentro muy a menudo leyendo historias sobre mujeres que hicieron una diferencia en su campo de desempeño o en su comunidad a lo largo de la historia. En su mayoría mujeres desconocidas para mí hasta que leo sobre ellas y sus admirables historias. También me sirve mantenerme registrada o seguir en las redes sociales algunas páginas, blogs, comunidades o personas que comparten contenido interesante relacionado con el empoderamiento de la mujer y la igualdad de género. YouTube tiene un montón de buen material para explorar también. He encontrado, hace muy poco, gran motivación e inspiración en un programa de emprendedurismo diseñado exclusivamente para mujeres que se desempeñan en el área de las STEM ( del inglés: Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería y Matemática). Ser parte de un grupo de mujeres fuertes, inteligentes, poderosas y proactivas realmente me hizo sentir empoderada. Así, las comunidades o grupos de interés son excelentes lugares para encontrar motivación y oportunidades para trabajar en las habilidades o aptitudes que queremos desarrollar. Del mismo modo, también en estos lugares o en organizaciones específicas que trabajan en el empoderamiento de la mujer se pueden encontrar mentores que nos ayuden a desarrollar las habilidades que necesitamos. 
Cabe destacar que los modelos a seguir que elijamos o nos presenten deberían representar a alguien alcanzable, alguien que haya llegado a un estado que nos parezca alcanzable y posible para nosotros mismos, de lo contrario, el modelo podría tener un efecto negativo y ser desmoralizante. Las mujeres del mundo real, conocidas y cercanas son también un buen ejemplo para tener en cuenta. Personalmente, me inspiro en una amiga y colega, Mariela, una farmacéutica que recientemente se inscribió en Médicos Sin Fronteras y dejó Buenos Aires para asumir un rol muy importante en una misión en Guinea Bissau. Otra amiga mía de la infancia, Virginia, una madre de 40 años de dos niños, que regresó a la universidad para terminar sus estudios universitarios después de 8 años de haberlos interrumpido para quedarse en casa y criar a sus hijos. Ambas historias de vida representan para mí, como seguramente muchas otras historias de mujeres que no conocemos, mujeres que van tras un sueño, mujeres con un propósito profundo e inspirador, un deseo, un objetivo o incluso una búsqueda para encontrar un significado más profundo en lo que hacen y esperan de la vida. Estas mujeres valientes dan lo mejor de sí, superan sus propios límites y sirven de modelo a muchas otras. Sencillamente mirando un poco en mis propias raíces, mujeres como mi abuela y mi amada hermana.


Bibliography & Interesting readings /Bibliografía & Lecturas interesantes

Women and the labyrinth of leadership. Alice H. Eagly & Linda L. Carli. Harvard business review. Harvard business review 85(9):62-71, 146. October 2007. DOI: 10.1037/e664062007-001

Taking Gender Into Account: Theory and Design for Women’s Leadership Development Programs. Robin J. Ely,  Herminia Ibarra, Deborah M. Kolb. Academy of Management Learning & Education, 2011, Vol. 10, No. 3, 474–493. http://dx.doi.org/10.5465/amle.2010.0046.

A bed of thorns: Female leaders and the self-reinforcing cycle of illegitimacy. Andrea C. Vial, Jaime L. Napier, Victoria L. Brescoll. The Leadership Quarterly. Volume 27, Issue 3, June 2016, Pages 400-414.

The Role of Female Role Models. https://thesocietypages.org/trot/2017/02/22/the-role-of-female-role-models/

The Role Model Effect: Women Leaders Key To Inspiring The Next Generation.  https://www.forbes.com/sites/worldviews/2012/01/19/the-role-model-effect-women-leaders-key-to-inspiring-the-next-generation/

Posted by Fernanda Quinteros on: June 27, 2019 04:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Our yesteryear grandmothers’ strength, an inspiration for today.

I love reading old stories, where I can think deeply about the characters and the situations.  You can feel how living was by those times, and even without that purpose in mind, you find yourself analyzing the role of women in those years. Fortunately, remarkable women have slowly been recovered from the forgotten side of history. Women that contributed or fought for a voice, the right to vote, education and health.

“Buenos Aires in sight: 160 pictures and stories”[1] is not an exception to my preferences. This book, by Daniel Balmaceda, is a compilation of selected captured moments which were published by several antiques media from the old Buenos Aires city, Argentina.  

There is one picture that caught my attention: two high-society ladies going for a drive on a new sporty car Citroën. The journalist who presented the situation, surprised by such female audacity, invited us to think:

“How astonished our yestearyear grandmothers would be to see a female figure, all delicacy and sweetness, wielding the steering wheel to launch her machine to unusual speed overcoming obstacles in the middle of the race.” Caras y Caretas Magazine,1928. [2]

That rhetorical question made me think about my grandmothers and about their own grannies, which inspired me to write this blog.

My two grandmothers, contemporaries to the photo’s ladies, lived in different areas of the region of the Humid Pampas[3] from Argentina, where both families were dedicated to the farming and livestock activity.

One became a widow when she was only 20 years old and was mother to a 6 months-old baby-girl. Quiet and sweet, hardworking and dedicated, it was not the first time neither the last that she made a path for herself.

The other one, the youngest girl out of 10 siblings, a natural leader, gentle but not docile, lost her father when she was only 3-year-old. Unexpectedly, her mother had to move to the town, using all her network to rebuild a new life without the country labor income.

Both families, Spanish-criollos[4] descendants, lived in these latitudes for generations. Their stories are interlocked to the turbulent avatars that this land proposed. It must be kept in mind that this land was a Spanish colony and Buenos Aires was just a small village with a port, going through independence and civil wars, including the land colonization by battles and peace treatments with native people, until it finally became a booming country offering opportunities to the European immigrants.

Through all that, they worked the land, populated the country and followed the frontier [5] progression.

Back to the “Caras y Caretas” magazine’s note with the ladies in the car… the question resonated in my head: “How astonished our yestearyear grandmothers would be to see a female figure, all delicacy and sweetness, wielding the steering wheel to launch her machine to unusual speed overcoming obstacles in the middle of the race.” I couldn’t help but wonder what my grandmothers would have thought about it had they read it by 1928.

I imagine my hardworking grandmother would talk about how it would not surprise her grandmother: there are records of her in 1895, widowed with two little children, after crossing 700 km of the deserted Patagonia [6].

Additionally, my other grandmother, the fierce and gentle one, would think that it would not call her granny’s attention. She grew up listening stories about how her grandmother had lived with all her daughters in the frontier in the year 1875, and the risks that came with that. They were used to the savage malón[7] attacking their country-side properties and livestock. When this happened, they wore all their dresses one over the other and got on their horses, took the reins and escaped at unusual speeds in order to save their belongings, freedom and lives.

Yes, that was their life by that time.

My grandpas would have had a voice too, to tell us that their mothers dared to cross an ocean from Europe to America when the XIX century was ending, to begin a new life in an unknown world.

All those adventures of different families, where the women are also the protagonists, were happening until my parents met in a long trip train a Christmas eve 60 years ago. And here I am, reviewing the women role through their families.

When I was a child, the feminist movement had already had some wins. However, cartoons, movies, magazines and school books insisted on showing us a woman model all delicacy, weak, dependent, passive, dedicated to the home. Those stereotypes were odd to me and did not match with what I saw growing up: my mother, breastfeeding my youngest sister while graduating from a technical career.

What a contrast between my female ancestors and images that represented women at those times!

Despite becoming conscious about those biases due to the stereotypes that society tried to impose, we find ourselves sometimes doubting about women’s abilities.

In those occasions, our female ancestors can be an excellent source of inspiration: even though they lacked both physical strength and legal rights, they knew how to cope with all the adversities and carry on.

They represent all the anonymous women who with their audacity o resistance contributed peacefully and quietly to turn a vast end-of-the-world land into a nation.

 

[1] “Buenos Aires en la Mira, 160 historias y fotos”, by Daniel Balmaceda. Editorial Sudamericana, 2014

[2] “Caras y Caretas”,Argentine weekly magazine (1898-1939 Collection)//Semanario Argentino (1898-1939)

[3] Humid pampas: extensive fertile region that due to weather propitiates the cereal harvest and livestock. That area made Argentina to become one of the main food providers to the world by early XX century. // Pampa Húmeda: Extensa región de praderas propicia por su clima y terreno para la agricultura intensiva y cría de ganado. Convirtiéndola en una proveedora importante de alimentos al mundo.

[4] Criollos: European descendants born in America’s colonies used in the colonization era.// Criollos: denominación que recibían los descendientes de europeos en américa en la época de la colonia.

[5] Frontier: A fort line which stablished the territory dominated by European-Criollos people// Frontera: Línea movible que representaba el límite del territorio dominado por los criollos, protegida por fortines que luego fueron las bases de las actuales pueblos y ciudades.

[6] Patagonia: Enormous rough, cold and windy terrain, with a unique flora, fauna and landscapes, in the south of South-America that was the last region to be colonized.// Patagonia: Extensa área en el sur de Sudamérica, desierta fría y ventosa, con única flora, fauna y paisajes. Fue la última zona en ser colonizada.

[7] Malón, name given to the surprise raids of some savage native’s bands from 17th to 19th centuries., In the raids they burn houses, stole horses and cows, kill men, and take captive women and children, using spears, arrows and boleadoras, rustic arms made with rounded stones.// Malón: Táctica militar ofensiva empleada ocasionalmente por algunos pueblos indígenas del siglo 17 a 19 que consistía en el ataque rápido y sorpresivo de un grupo de guerrero a caballos con lanzas y boleadoras con el objetivo de saquear el ganado, quemar las casas, matar al criollo y capturar mujeres y niños.

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Me gustan las historias antiguas donde puedo apreciar a sus protagonistas, detenerme e interpretarlos. Es posible sentir como era vivir en aquellas épocas, y sin pretenderlo encontrarse analizando la situación de la mujer en ese entonces. Afortunadamente, lentamente se ha ido rescatando del olvido a remarcables mujeres. Mujeres que abogaron por una voz, un voto, educación y salud.

No escapa a mis gustos “Buenos Aires en la mira: 160 fotos e historias”[1] de Daniel Balmaceda, quien seleccionó momentos captados y publicados por diversos medios de época de Buenos Aires Argentina. Me detengo en una foto: dos señoritas de la alta sociedad de Buenos Aires están por manejar un automóvil Citroën último modelo de 1928. El periodista sorprendido ante tal osadía femenina se pregunta:

Con qué cara de asombro verían las abuelas de antaño una figura femenina, toda delicadeza y dulzura, empuñando valientemente el volante para lanzar su máquina a velocidades inauditas, y para salvar los obstáculos en plena carrera.” Caras y Caretas, 1928.[2]

Y esta pregunta retórica, al hacerme pensar en mis abuelas y en sus propias abuelas, es la que me inspira este blog.

Mis dos abuelas, contemporáneas a las señoritas de la foto, vivían en distintas zonas de la pampa húmeda [3] de Argentina, donde la principal actividad es agro ganadera.

Una quedó viuda a los 20 años con una beba de 6 meses. Callada, dulce, emprendedora, empeñosa sin descanso, no sería la primera vez ni la última que que emprendió el modo de ganarse la vida en la ciudad sin depender de un hombre.

La otra, hija menor de 10 hermanos, huérfana de padre a los 3 años, gentil, nada dócil, líder innata. Inesperadamente, su madre tuvo que recurrir a todas sus redes para reconstruir la vida en la ciudad, lejos del campo que era sostén de la familia.

Las familias de ambas llevaban generaciones de descendientes hispanos-criollos[4] en estas latitudes.  La historia de estas familias se entrelaza con los turbulentos avatares que esta tierra les proponía. Desde cuando Buenos Aires era solo una aldea con puerto del virreinato español, pasando por las guerras de independencia, civiles, incluyendo la colonización mediante batallas y tratados de paz con los nativos, hasta llegar a ser un país pujante lleno de oportunidades para los inmigrantes. Y así fueron, mediante sus trabajos rurales, poblando la nación a medida que la frontera [5] avanzaba civilizando nuevos territorios.

Vuelvo a la nota de Caras y Caretas de las señoritas manejando el auto en 1928, y la pregunta resuena en mi cabeza. “Con qué cara de asombro verían las abuelas de antaño una figura femenina, toda delicadeza y dulzura, empuñando valientemente el volante para lanzar su máquina a velocidades inauditas, y para salvar los obstáculos en plena carrera.”

No puedo evitar pensar que hubieran pensado mis abuelas de haberlo leído.

Imagino a mi empeñosa abuela diciendo que su abuela no tendría ninguna cara de asombro: que hay registros de ella en 1895 cerca de Chile, viuda con dos pequeños niños, después de haber atravesado 700 km de la desierta Patagonia[6].

Y la otra, la gentil, diría que su abuela no sentiría tampoco ningún asombro. Creció escuchando sus historias de vida en la frontera en 1875 y los riesgos que sufrían junto a sus hijas. Cuando venía el salvaje malón [7]  a arrasar con las propiedades de los criollos, se ponían todos sus vestidos uno encima del otro, se subían a los caballos, empuñaban las riendas y a inusitadas velocidades huían del peligro sorteando obstáculos para proteger así sus pertenencias, su vida y su libertad.

Si, así era la vida de ellas por entonces.

Mis abuelos también tendrían que opinar y ellos contarían de sus madres, quienes desde Italia y desde España, se animaron a cruzar un océano hacia América cuando el siglo XIX finalizaba, hacia un mundo desconocido para iniciar otra vida.

Todas estas aventuras de familias diversas, donde las mujeres no dejan de ser protagonistas, se fueron cruzando hasta converger en que mis padres se conocieran una Noche Buena y para siempre en un largo viaje de tren hace más de 60 años. Y acá estoy revisando la historia del rol de la mujer a través de ellas.  

Cuando era niña, el movimiento feminista ya había ganado sus batallas.  Sin embargo, películas, dibujos animados y hasta libros escolares, insistían en mostrar a la mujer como delicada, dócil, débil, pasiva, sumisa, dependiente.  Este estereotipo que me rebelaba tanto, no se condecía ni con mis preferencias ni con mi madre, a quien ví recibirse de una carrera técnica amamantando a mi hermana menor.

 ¡Que contraste entre mis ancestros femeninos y la imagen que se transmitía de la mujer en aquellas épocas!

A pesar de ser conscientes de estos sesgos por los estereotipos que la sociedad construyó e impuso, a veces aún dudamos de las habilidades femeninas.

En esas ocasiones nuestros ancestros femeninos pueden ser una excelente fuente de inspiración:  ellas, sin la fuerza física y sin derechos legales que las amparen, supieron seguir adelante y superar todas las adversidades.

Ellas representan a todas esas anónimas y valerosas mujeres que con su osadía o resistencia contribuyeron pacífica y silenciosamente a que un vasto territorio en el fin del mundo se convirtiera en una nación.

 

Posted by María del Rosario Valicente on: March 31, 2019 04:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)

“My name is Steve” / "Mi nombre es Steve"

Categories: leadership, women

"Leadership has masculine traits"

"Technology is not for women"

"Entrepreneurs are men"

Women still today continue dealing with prejudices, stereotypes and difficulties in our professional development. What has been metaphorically referred to as "Crystal Roof", "Crystal Labyrinth" or "Sticky Floor", is still valid in the XXI century.

However, we could not complain if we compare it with what the courageous women who preceded us have had to fight to open a path for us and make great advances.

One of these brave women is the talented Stephanie Shirley, who had to change her name to "Steve" to be received in the business world of the United Kingdom in the '60s.

At that time, women couldn’t even drive a truck or open a bank account without their husband's permission. Imagine the difficulty to enter into the workforce. Those who achieved it have had to survive with the fear of sexual harassment on a regular basis.

Stephanie Shirley, who born in Germany, terrified at the age of 5 years old, in 1939, arrived in England as a Jewish refugee, escaping the Holocaust with her 9-year-old sister Renata. Having escaped from Germany to Austria, his parents raised the two little sisters to the Kindertransport program, famous for having saved a large number of children from the terrible fate that would await them in the Europe of the Nazis. Stephanie and Renata were received by a kind couple who resided close to London.

In her book "Let it Go," Shirley says that being a refugee and saving herself from the Holocaust marked her life in such a way that she decided to make sure that each day was worth living. According to her own words: "I was determined not to allow other people to define me, to open my way by myself, to build something new and not be discouraged by the conventions of the day."

Being that she liked math very much and, at that time the most scientific topic being taught in schools for girls were biology, she decided to enroll in a boys' school, which was not easy for her was to start dressing as boy as a way to not to be noticed.

When she finished her high school she started working, at the same time she began her evening studies to graduate with honors in her Mathematics Degree, 6 years later.

In 1951, being only 18 years old, she was hired at the Research Station of the Post Office in Dollis Hill, at the northwest of London, the place where they had developed World War II decoding machines.  

She worked on transatlantic telephone cables and on the development of the first electronic telephone calls, among other projects.

Although she liked his work a lot, she was frustrated to see that she never received a promotion, unlike her male colleagues, whom, with less merits and qualifications obtained the promotions.

In those years Stephanie Shirley married Derek, another employee of the Post Office, making things even more difficult to her. One of them had to quit the job, and while they both had the same hierarchy at the organization, given Stephanie's frustration to see that she could not thrive in that place, she decided to try something different.

Thus, in 1962, at the age of 29, she founded her company "Freelance Programmers", with the mission of giving jobs to women, avoiding misogyny in the workplace and providing them with fair compensation, without the wage gap by gender that at that time it was far worse than now.

From the table in her dining room and with a minimal investment, Stephanie Shirley became a pioneering entrepreneur in the software development industry.

Another novelty aspect of her enterprise was the flexibility of schedules and the possibility of working from their houses that had their programmers, allowing them to balance the work with their dedication to home and family.

Dame Stephanie Shirley, in the '60s implemented the Home Office concept!

All the technology available for remote work at that time was the ground telephone line, and that was the only requirement that she asked to women during the job interviews.

It is difficult to imagine right now, at the communications revolution era, that those women wrote their programs with pencil and paper, they sent them by post mailing to the processing center, where they drilled the code on tapes or cards, to then process the first execution and debugging after that.

Stephanie tells in her book "Let it Go," that when her son was born, he sometimes cried while she was answering the phone and talking with clients. Trying they would not realize that she was working from home, Shirley put the recording of a typewriter in the background so that the noise covers the crying baby.

Obviously, it was not easy to break through in a world dominated by men.

When she sent cover letters, offering consulting and programming services to potential clients, she did not even receive an answer.

She realized then that using her own name did not give her credibility and at the suggestion of her husband, she began to sign as "Steve", which gave her good results and they started receiving her at business meetings, generating great surprise when “Steve” introduced herself as a woman.

"Freelance Programmers" started to take off, employing most women with only three men. One nice anecdote is that when in England in 1975 it was enacted the law of gender discrimination, Shirley had to hire more men.

Her company grew up rapidly and, in the 1980s, her thousands of programmers, mostly women, wrote software for the best companies in the United Kingdom and developed projects, such as the programming of the flight recorder of the black box of the Concorde plane.

In 1996, the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and came to be valued at 3 billion dollars. Since Shirley had distributed more than 50% of her shares to her employees, at no cost to them, seventy women became millionaires at that time.

Upon retiring, Stephanie Shirley began to dedicate herself to philanthropy through the Shirley Foundation, which is dedicated to the research and treatment of autistic children. Having had an autistic child herself, she supports the advancement of science about this disorder.

Shirley was part of the founding members of the British Computer Society in 1957. She was appointed Officer of the Excellent Order of the British Empire and promoted to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2000. She was also Ambassador of the United Kingdom for Philanthropy and has received other multiple recognitions.

I think we have much to learn from the story of Dame Stephanie Shirley, who was not stopped by the "glass ceiling" or any other of the many difficulties that she had in her life, using all her means to enforce her work and the work of thousands of women who became part of her company.

I propose you that, the next time you face a difficulty in your profession, remember Stephanie "Steve" Shirley!

 

--- Versión en Español

Título: “Mi nombre es Steve”

“El liderazgo tiene rasgos masculinos”

“La tecnología no es para mujeres”

“Los emprendedores son hombres”

 

Las mujeres en la actualidad seguimos viviendo con prejuicios, estereotipos y dificultades en nuestro desarrollo profesional. Lo que se ha denominado metafóricamente como “Techo de Cristal”, “Laberinto de Cristal” o “Piso Pegajoso”, aún sigue vigente en pleno siglo XXI.

Sin embargo, no podríamos quejarnos si lo comparamos con lo que han tenido que luchar las mujeres valientes que nos precedieron, que nos abrieron el camino y lograron grandes avances.

Una de estas mujeres valientes es la talentosa Stephanie Shirley, quién se tuvo que hacer llamar “Steve” para que la recibieran en el mundo de los negocios del Reino Unido de los anos ’60.

Por aquella época, las mujeres no podían conducir un camión, ni siquiera podían abrir una cuenta bancaria sin el permiso de su marido, mucho menos insertarse en el mundo laboral. Aquellas que lo lograban debían convivir con el temor al acoso sexual de forma regular.

Stephanie Shirley, nacida en Alemania, en 1939, a sus 5 años llegó aterrorizada a Inglaterra como refugiada judía, escapando del Holocausto junto a su hermana Renata de 9 años. Habiendo escapado de Alemania a Austria, sus padres subieron a las dos pequeñas hermanas al programa Kindertransport, famoso por haber salvado a un gran número de niños del terrible destino que les esperaría en la Europa de los Nazis. Stephanie y Renata fueron recibidas por un bondadoso matrimonio y residieron en las afueras de Londres.

En su libro “Let it Go”, Shirley cuenta que haber sido refugiada y salvarse del Holocausto marcó su vida de tal forma que decidió que debía asegurarse de que cada día valiera la pena ser vivido. Según sus propias palabras: “Estaba decidida a no permitir que otras personas me definan, a abrirme paso, a construir algo nuevo y no dejarme desanimar por las convenciones del día".

Como le gustaban mucho las matemáticas y en esa época las escuelas para niñas lo más científico que tenían era biología, decidió anotarse en una escuela de varones, lo que no fue para nada fácil para ella que empezó a vestirse lo más masculino que podía para no llamar la atención.

Cuanto terminó su escuela secundaria comenzó a trabajar, a la vez que comenzó sus estudios nocturnos para graduarse con honores en su Licenciatura de Matemáticas, 6 años más tarde.

En 1951, teniendo apenas 18 años empezó a trabajar en la Estación de Investigación de la Oficina de Correos de Dollis Hill, en el noroeste de Londres, donde se habían construido las máquinas de descifrado de la Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Trabajó en cables telefónicos transatlánticos y en el desarrollo de las primeras llamadas telefónicas electrónicas, entre otros proyectos.

Si bien le gustaba mucho su trabajo, se frustraba de ver que nunca le llegaba una promoción, al contrario que sus compañeros varones, que con menores méritos y calificaciones obtenían las promociones.

En esos años contrajo matrimonio con Derek, otro empleado de la Oficina de Correos y eso dificultaba aún más las cosas. Uno de los dos debía dejar su trabajo, y, si bien los dos tenían la misma jerarquía, dada la frustración que tenía Stephanie de ver que en ese lugar no podía prosperar, decidió probar algo diferente.

Fue así como en 1962, a los 29 años, fundó su compañía “Freelance Programmers”, con la misión de dar trabajo a mujeres, evitar la misoginia en el lugar de trabajo y brindarles una retribución justa, sin la brecha de salarios por género que en aquel momento era muy superior a la actual.

Desde la mesa de su comedor y con una inversión mínima, Stephanie Shirley se convirtió en una emprendedora pionera del desarrollo de software.

Otro aspecto de avanzada de su emprendimiento era la flexibilidad de horarios y la posibilidad de trabajar desde sus casas que tenían sus programadoras, permitiéndoles balancear el trabajo con su dedicación al hogar y a la familia.

Dame Stephanie Shirley, en los años ’60 implementó el Home Office!

En aquella época, toda la tecnología disponible para el trabajo a distancia era el teléfono de línea, y ese era el único requisito que le pedía a las mujeres en las entrevistas de trabajo.

Es difícil imaginar ahora, en la época de la revolución de las comunicaciones, que aquellas mujeres escribían sus programas con lápiz y papel, los enviaban por correo postal al centro de procesamiento, donde perforaban el código en cintas o tarjetas, para luego poder hacer la primera ejecución y luego la depuración.   

Cuenta Stephanie en su libro “Let it Go”, que cuando nació su hijo, en ocasiones lloraba mientras ella atendía el teléfono y hablaba con clientes. Para que estos no se dieran cuenta que estaba trabajando desde su casa, Shirley ponía de fondo la grabación de una persona tipeando en una máquina de escribir para que el ruido tapara el llanto del bebé.

Obviamente que no fue fácil abrirse camino en un mundo dominado por los hombres. Cuando enviaba cartas de presentación, ofreciendo los servicios de consultoría y programación a los posibles clientes, ni siquiera recibía una respuesta.

Se dio cuenta entonces que usar su propio nombre no le daba credibilidad y por sugerencia de su marido, comenzó a firmar como “Steve”, lo que le dio buen resultado y comenzaron a recibirla a reuniones de negocios, generando gran sorpresa cuando Steve se presentaba como una mujer.

"Freelance Programmers" comenzó a despegar, empleando mayoría de mujeres con sólo tres hombres. Resulta simpático que cuando en Inglaterra se promulgó la ley de discriminación de género, en 1975, Shirley tuvo que salir a contratar más hombres.

Su empresa creció rápidamente y, en la década de los ’80 sus miles de programadores, mayormente mujeres, escribían software para las mejores compañías del Reino Unido y desarrollaban proyectos, tales como el de la programación de la grabadora de vuelo de la caja negra del Concorde.

En 1996, la empresa cotizó en la Bolsa de Londres y llegó a ser valorada en 3 mil millones de dólares.  Dado que Shirley había distribuido más del 50% de sus acciones en sus empleadas, sin ningún costo para ellas, setenta mujeres se hicieron millonarias en ese momento.

Al retirarse, Stephanie Shirley comenzó a dedicarse a la filantropía a través de la Fundación Shirley que se dedica a la investigación y al tratamiento de niños autistas. Habiendo tenido ella misma un hijo autista, brinda apoyo al avance de la ciencia sobre ese trastorno.

Shirley fue parte de los miembros fundadores de la British Computer Society en 1957. Fue nombrada Oficial de la Excellent Order of the British Empire y ascendida a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire en el año 2000. También fue Embajadora del Reino Unido para la Filantropía y ha recibido otros múltiples reconocimientos.

Creo que tenemos mucho que aprender de la historia de Dame Stephanie Shirley, a quien no la detuvo el “techo de cristal” ni ninguna de las dificultades de las muchas que se le presentaron en la vida, usando todos sus medios para hacer valer su trabajo y el trabajo de miles de mujeres que llegaron a formar parte de su empresa.

Te propongo que la próxima vez que te enfrentes a una dificultad en tu profesión, recuerdes a Stephanie “Steve” Shirley.

Posted by Cecilia Boggi on: March 06, 2019 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Come see the world from up here

Today I’m going to spend the day revisiting myself

Resetting my world

Reorganising my shelf

Because yesterday is too far gone

And all I need is to be ready for tomorrow…

Vanessa Guimarães

 

I wrote this text to myself but I think it should be shared. I want to share it here because we are part of a global community, and that should mean something. We are supposedly open to diversity and more tolerant to the differences. We have travelled around the world, we learned about other cultures, we speak other languages, most of us have been labelled “the foreigner” somewhere. When we speak our minds, people see a person who is international, a leadership. It should mean something. So I want to share this with you, and if you still think diversity is only another policy to tick out of your corporate social responsibility list, please, just please re-evaluate your privileged position and have some empathy. You might be making someone’s life a bit harder.  

 

 

Every now and then we have to face a difficult situation. It makes us stronger, it makes us review our values and principles, it tests our patience, it brings us closer to who we really are.

Every now and then we are caught in a dilemma. You can either follow your heart, your guts or your brain. You can hurt, be hurt or let hurt. You can take a breath, take some time, react, overreact, but you can never keep it quiet.

Silence does not exist. Those who are alive are always haunted but a little voice inside asking those questions that we try so hard to avoid. Is this it? Is that all? What is next? Who is next? Am I enough? Am I strong enough? The thing is that the answers to these questions are not relevant. What triggered them, what they make you feel, that´s what really matters.

Understanding the trigger, though, is just as complicated. Sometimes it was just a bad day, you were just not feeling it, it was just the weather, the pending bills, your boss, your partner, a car driving too fast, an unworthy person, an idiot that crossed your way. Do people really say things they don’t mean? How long does it take one to process what is in front of them, rationalise about it, decide to say something about it and… Regret? Really?

Some things just can’t be changed. Yesterday I was a victim of racism. I can’t change the colour of my skin and I shouldn’t need to change the texture of my hair. I can’t change the fact that I heard what I heard. And it was such a dear person to me… It still is. Some things can’t be changed, at least not that fast.

Those who know me will agree that I am not easily offended. And for sure it was not the first time that racism has looked me in the eye… Usually I am strong, I rise above, I prefer to think that I deserve better, that that person is just not worth my energy. But why do I always have to be so strong? Why do I have to wear such a thick shell to protect myself from others, from the world? Why can’t I just be me?

Dressing up, the make-up, the hair, the neutral colours… How much of that is really me? I tried not to be affected by what happened and, like I said, usually I am pretty good at it, but should I?

Going back in time I realise that this so called strength has been with me since I was just a kid. Is it fair that a kid needed to be strong in order not to be broken by the environment? You might think it is an exaggeration, but I remember second guessing myself, not because I did not believe in my potential but because I always had something else to prove. It was always harder for me, I was never an option, I would always have to explain that no, I am not the maid, I am not the babysitter, I am not lost I live here, I was just looking, I want to try that dress and yes I can afford it, please don’t touch my hair, I am not a woman yet despite the body, I don’t need to show my parents’ payslip to be accepted by your family, yes my nose is natural and small, these are not homeless people it’s a picture of my family.

Yesterday, when I heard what I heard, and it wasn’t even the worst thing I’ve ever heard, I just allowed myself to be hit, feel offended, act normal as anyone else would have done in my shoes. And it took me to a very deep place that I had not visited for quite a while.

So yes, today I allowed myself to stay in, to sleep longer, get in touch with these feelings, understand my moment, reassess my plan, and rebuild my pillars. The funny thing is that vulnerability is the key to that room where only a few people are allowed in. We are not born strong, we become strong. We are not born fighters, we become fighters. But what are we actually fighting against? And why now? Why has vulnerability hit me now?

I have recently dropped a brilliant career working for a foreign government to start my own business. Actually two businesses. They are both growing well; I have managed to mobilise more than 20 wonderful women to volunteer in this initial phase; my network is bigger and greater than ever; I am constantly being complimented on my achievements; I keep on having one great idea after the other; strategic partnerships are being established. Why now? Like I said, it was far from being the worst thing I’ve heard, usually I would have ignored, but this time was different, and I believe that it might have something to do with the so-called “Impostor Syndrome”.

Yes, minorities tend to feel unworthy of their accomplishments and we doubt ourselves all the time. It had been a while since the last time I was in that confusing place but here I am again, allowing myself to be offended because being a woman of so much success can only mean I am a fraud, right? So my old friend Vulnerability decides to pay me a visit and next thing I know… Racism and sexism hit me hard. One punch from the world, another punch from my own mind, tricking me into believing that “this”, a successful career, an extensive portfolio of achievements, this can only be one thing: a fraud.

Going back in the whole situation, which happened a few minutes ago, I have come to one conclusion: you can only be a “fraud” if you allow yourself to be one, and there will be many insecurities that will arise to make sure you feel like you are an impostor. Being the only woman in every single board meeting I have recently been to has certainly made me more likely to go down that road, but it can also be proof that this is exactly where I should be:  at the top, because I know it was not an easy mountain to climb, and you know what? I’ll dry my tears – which have reminded me of my struggle -, and instead, I will enjoy the view: oh yes, it was a tough challenge to get to the top, but it is a beautiful view from up here. 

 

--------------------------------

Portuguese version (from Google Translator, sorry)

 

Eu escrevi este texto para mim mesma, mas acho que deveria ser compartilhado. Quero compartilhá-lo aqui porque somos parte de uma comunidade global, e isso deve significar alguma coisa. Estamos supostamente abertos à diversidade e mais tolerantes às diferenças. Nós viajamos ao redor do mundo, aprendemos sobre outras culturas, falamos outras línguas, a maioria de nós foi rotulada como "o estrangeiro" em algum lugar. Quando nos expressamos, as pessoas veem uma pessoa que é internacional, uma liderança. Deve significar alguma coisa. Então, quero compartilhar isso com você, e se você ainda acha que a diversidade é apenas mais uma política para cortar da sua lista de responsabilidade social corporativa, por favor, reavalie sua posição privilegiada e tenha alguma empatia. Você pode estar tornando a vida de alguém um pouco mais difícil.

 

De vez em quando, temos que enfrentar uma situação difícil. Isso nos torna mais fortes, faz-nos rever os nossos valores e princípios, testa a nossa paciência, aproxima-nos de quem realmente somos.

De vez em quando, nos vemos presos em um dilema. Você pode seguir seu coração, seus instintos ou sua mente. Você pode machucar, se machucar ou deixar machucar. Você pode respirar, demorar um pouco, reagir, reagir exageradamente, mas nunca conseguirá silenciá-lo.

O silêncio não existe. Aqueles que estão vivos são sempre assombrados, mas uma pequena voz lá dentro faz as perguntas que nós nos esforçamos para evitar. É isso? Isso é tudo? O que vem depois? Quem é o próximo? Eu sou o suficiente? Eu sou forte o suficiente? O problema é que as respostas para essas perguntas não são relevantes. O que os desencadeou, o que eles fazem você se sentir, é o que realmente importa.

Entender o gatilho, no entanto, é tão complicado quanto. Às vezes, era apenas um dia ruim, você simplesmente não sentia, era apenas o tempo, as contas pendentes, seu chefe, seu parceiro, um carro dirigindo rápido demais, uma pessoa indigna, um idiota que cruzava seu caminho. As pessoas realmente dizem coisas que não querem dizer? Quanto tempo leva para processar o que está na frente deles, racionalizar sobre isso, decidir dizer algo sobre isso e… Arrependimento? Mesmo?

Algumas coisas simplesmente não podem ser alteradas. Ontem fui vítima do racismo. Eu não posso mudar a cor da minha pele e não preciso mudar a textura do meu cabelo. Eu não posso mudar o fato de que ouvi o que ouvi. E era uma pessoa tão querida para mim ... Ainda é. Algumas coisas não podem ser alteradas, pelo menos não tão rápido.

Aqueles que me conhecem concordam que não me ofendo facilmente. E com certeza não foi a primeira vez que o racismo me olhou nos olhos ... Normalmente sou forte, me elevo, prefiro pensar que mereço melhor, que essa pessoa não vale a pena minha energia. Mas por que eu sempre tenho que ser tão forte? Por que eu tenho que usar uma concha tão grossa para me proteger dos outros, do mundo? Por que eu não posso ser apenas eu?

Vestindo-se, a maquiagem, o cabelo, as cores neutras ... Quanto disso é realmente eu? Eu tentei não ser afetado pelo que aconteceu e, como eu disse, normalmente eu sou muito bom nisso, mas eu deveria?

Voltando no tempo eu percebo que esta força tão chamada tem estado comigo desde que eu era apenas uma criança. É justo que uma criança precise ser forte para não ser quebrada pelo meio ambiente? Você pode pensar que é um exagero, mas lembro-me de adivinhar a mim mesmo, não porque não acreditava em meu potencial, mas porque sempre tinha outra coisa a provar. Sempre foi mais difícil para mim, eu nunca fui uma opção, eu sempre teria que explicar que não, eu não sou a empregada, eu não sou a babá, eu não estou perdida, eu moro aqui, eu estava apenas olhando, eu quero tente esse vestido e sim eu posso pagar, por favor não toque no meu cabelo, eu não sou uma mulher ainda apesar do corpo, eu não preciso mostrar o salário de meus pais para ser aceito por sua família, sim meu nariz é natural e pequeno, estes não são pessoas desabrigadas é uma foto da minha família.

Sim, as minorias tendem a se sentir indignas de suas realizações e duvidamos de nós mesmos o tempo todo. Já fazia um tempo desde a última vez que eu estava naquele lugar confuso, mas aqui estou eu de novo, me permitindo ficar ofendido porque ser uma mulher de tanto sucesso só pode significar que eu sou uma fraude, certo? Então meu velho amigo Vulnerabilidade decide me fazer uma visita e a próxima coisa que eu sei… Racismo e sexismo me atingiram com força. Um soco do mundo, outro soco da minha mente, me enganando em acreditar que "isso", uma carreira de sucesso, um extenso portfólio de conquistas, isso só pode ser uma coisa: uma fraude.

Voltando em toda a situação, que aconteceu alguns minutos atrás, eu cheguei a uma conclusão: você só pode ser uma "fraude" se você se permitir ser um, e haverá muitas inseguranças que surgirão para ter certeza de que sinta-se como um impostor. Ser a única mulher em cada reunião de diretoria a que fui, certamente me fez mais propenso a seguir esse caminho, mas também pode ser a prova de que é exatamente onde eu deveria estar: no topo, porque sei que não uma montanha fácil de escalar, e sabe de uma coisa? Eu vou secar minhas lágrimas - o que me lembrou da minha luta - e, em vez disso, vou apreciar a vista: ah, sim, foi um grande desafio chegar até aqui, mas é uma bela vista daqui de cima.

 

Posted by Vanessa Guimarães on: February 02, 2019 05:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)
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