Women in PM Leadership

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We'll explore the lessons, traits, characteristics and opinions of women serving in leadership positions in the project management profession. Join the conversation!

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Brantlee Underhill
Cecilia Boggi
Marcela Terzi
Fernanda Quinteros
Adriana Cibelli
María del Rosario Valicente
Vanessa Guimarães

Recent Posts

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

Leadership styles: opportunities for women

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. 

 

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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)

Leadership styles: opportunities for women

Categories: leadership, women

Much has been studied about leadership styles and about the characteristics a leader should have. However, not as many studies include gender as a variable in their evaluations. Additionally, the studies that have done it differ in design, methodology and evaluations performed so though it is tempting to make an assertion about the case, it is difficult to conclude that there is a feminine leadership style in contraposition with a masculine one. Nonetheless, women have been associated more than men to exert a transformational leadership.

Transformational leadership style is often compared with the transactional style and is a model that takes into account different variables addressed separately by other leadership theories like traits, behavior, context and organizational culture that are combined in this model. Below is a brief summary and comparison of both models.

From:https://www.aiesec.nl/blog/personal-development/transformational-leadership-vs-transactional-leadership/

 

The transformational model of leadership focus on team-building, motivation and collaboration with employees to accomplish a desired change. Transformational leaders motivate and inspires employees through incentives and by providing opportunities for growth while setting goals that are aligned with the strategic vision of the organization as well as with the team and the employee’s own interests, values and needs. This style of leadership is proactive and best for turbulent or changing environments. Women are more identified with this style of leadership where cooperation, collaboration, equity and empathy are characteristics traits.

Transactional leaders, on the other hand, use disciplinary power and incentives as rewards or punishments to motivate employees to perform at their best. They are more concerned with maintaining the normal conditions and operations of the organization rather than with achieving change. This style of leadership is reactive and more suited for settled environments.

The transactional style is the traditional leadership style used extensively across different organizations for many years and it is identified with masculine traits like self- interest and competitivity, authority, control, effectiveness, etc.

Today many companies are immersed in changing and dynamic environments where the ability to response fast is highly valuable and needed to stay competitive. The traditional leadership model, based almost exclusively in increasing productivity and efficiency is being challenged. Strong hierarchized and bureaucratized organizations with specialized functional areas may not have the adequate structure for this new globalized environment.

Opportunities arise here for women who generally exert a transformational leadership style that is more suited in this scenario. Inspirational motivation, the ability to create a sense of purpose and commitment, intellectual stimulation and the creation of shared spaces for discussion and joint resolution of problems are all traits and abilities associated with feminine characteristics related to cooperation, collaboration and empathy. These characteristics are needed in organizations that required flexibility and rapid adaptation to change, where innovation and changes are not only needed but welcomed.

In summary, though is it difficult to differentiate and define a feminine leadership style it seems that women are more identified with the transformational one in which more feminine characteristics are represented. Certainly, also men could have them and exert a transformational style. Though transactional style has been the model widely accepted and used in traditional organizations, a fact that may have contributed to the under-representation of women in managerial positions, there seems to be now good perspectives for women with the values and attitudes needed to be a transformational leader.

Lastly but not less, many studies reveal that men outperform women when testing self-confidence perception. We should pay attention to this, it is time to start working on it so as to be able to fully seize every opportunity that arise.

 

 

Spanish version

 

Estilos de liderazgo: oportunidades para las mujeres.

 

Mucho se ha estudiado sobre los estilos de liderazgo y sobre las características que debe tener un líder, sin embargo, no se han realizado muchos estudios que incluyan al género como una de las variables de sus evaluaciones. Los estudios que sí lo han hecho, además, difieren en el diseño, la metodología utilizada y las evaluaciones realizadas, por lo que, si bien es tentador hacer una afirmación sobre el tema, es difícil concluir que existe un estilo de liderazgo femenino en contraposición con uno masculino. A pesar de esto, las mujeres se han asociado más que los hombres a ejercer un estilo de liderazgo del tipo transformacional.

El estilo de liderazgo transformacional normalmente se compara con el estilo transaccional y es un modelo que toma en cuenta y combina diferentes variables que han sido abordadas por separado por otras teorías de liderazgo tales como rasgos, comportamiento, contexto y cultura organizacional. A continuación, se muestra un breve resumen y comparación de ambos modelos:

 

De: https://www.aiesec.nl/blog/personal-development/transformational-leadership-vs-transactional-leadership/

 

El modelo de liderazgo transformacional se centra en la formación de equipos, la motivación y la colaboración con los empleados con el objetivo de lograr un cambio deseado. Los líderes transformacionales motivan e inspiran a sus seguidores a través de incentivos y brindan oportunidades de crecimiento al tiempo que establecen objetivos que están alineados con la visión estratégica de la organización, así como con el equipo y los intereses propios, valores y necesidades del colaborador. Este estilo de liderazgo es proactivo y es mejor para ambientes turbulentos o cambiantes. Las mujeres están más identificadas con este estilo de liderazgo donde la cooperación, la colaboración, la equidad y la empatía son características.

Los líderes transaccionales, por otro lado, utilizan el poder disciplinario y los incentivos como recompensas o castigos para motivar a los empleados a rendir al máximo. Están más enfocados en mantener las condiciones y operaciones normales de la organización en lugar de lograr un cambio. Este estilo de liderazgo es reactivo y más adecuado para entornos establecidos.

El estilo transaccional es el estilo de liderazgo tradicional que ha sido utilizado ampliamente en diferentes organizaciones durante muchos años y que se identifica con rasgos masculinos como el propio interés y la competitividad, la autoridad, el control, la efectividad, etc.

En la actualidad, muchas empresas se encuentran inmersas en entornos cambiantes y dinámicos donde la capacidad para dar respuestas rápidas es muy valiosa y, aún más, necesaria para mantener la competitividad. El modelo de liderazgo tradicional, basado casi exclusivamente en el aumento de la productividad y de la eficiencia, está siendo desafiado. Las organizaciones fuertemente jerarquizadas y burocratizadas, con áreas funcionales especializadas pueden no tener la estructura adecuada para este nuevo entorno globalizado. Es aquí donde surgen oportunidades para las mujeres que generalmente ejercen un estilo de liderazgo transformacional, más adecuado a este nuevo escenario.

La motivación inspiradora, la capacidad de crear un sentido de propósito y compromiso, la estimulación intelectual y la creación de espacios compartidos para el debate y la resolución conjunta de problemas son rasgos y habilidades que están asociados con características femeninas relacionadas con la cooperación, la colaboración y la empatía, características que se necesitan en organizaciones que requieren flexibilidad y rápida adaptación al cambio, donde la innovación y los cambios no solo son necesarios sino también bienvenidos.

En resumen, aunque es difícil diferenciar y definir un estilo de liderazgo femenino, pareciera ser que las mujeres se identifican más que los hombres con el estilo transformacional en el que están más representadas características femeninas. Ciertamente, también los hombres podrían tener estas habilidades y características y ejercer un estilo de liderazgo transformacional. Si bien el estilo transaccional ha sido el modelo ampliamente aceptado y utilizado en las organizaciones tradicionales, hecho que puede haber contribuido a la subrepresentación de las mujeres en puestos directivos, pareciera ser que hay ahora buenas perspectivas para las mujeres que poseen los valores y las actitudes necesarias para ser una líder transformacional.

Por último pero no menos importante, cabe notar que existen varios estudios que revelan que los hombres superan a las mujeres en su percepción de confianza en sí mismos. Deberíamos prestar atención a esto, pareciera ser hora de empezar a trabajar en esto de manera de poder aprovechar de lleno las oportunidades que se nos presentan.

 

 

Bibliography/Bibliografía

-Liderazgo femenino: un modelo transformacional frente al paradigma de la organización tradicional. Thesis · September 2013. Maria Medina-Vincent. Universitat Jaume I. España

-Mujer y liderazgo en el siglo XXI: una aproximación psicosocial a los factores que dificultan el acceso de la mujer a los puestos de alta responsabilidad. Memoria Final (Abril 2009). Proyecto nº: 22/05. Investigador principal Fernando Molero Alonso. Instituto de la mujer. Secretaría General de políticas de igualdad. Ministerio de igualdad. España.

Posted by Fernanda Quinteros on: January 16, 2019 07:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)

A fair language to build a fairer world

Categories: leadership, women

"Language is not a mere tool through which we express and communicate our thoughts. Language makes thought – when we speak we are thinking - and at the same time, we are representing and constructing our surrounding reality. (...) The biased use of language (...) influences our attitudes, behaviors and perceptions of the world..."

 

From the article “Non-sexist language and barriers to its use. A study in the university environment”, University of Sevilla (1)

 

When analyzing journalistic notes, conversations, books, advertisements and other symbolic products, we notice the lack of awareness of the undeniable fact that we are recording certain messages biased in our minds. We seem to find it hard to notice that apart from merely speaking or writing we are forging culture.

 

Therefore it seems appropriate to include an article about language as a fundamental tool in Project Management. We spend many hours of our day communicating. It is one of our most important tasks and merits a conscious effort to spot possible gender biases such as prejudices, stereotypes and mandates.

 

In Spanish, the masculine gender is inclusive compared to the feminine gender, which happens to be the exclusive one: "Los alumnos de esta clase" includes men and women, but "Las alumnas de esta clase" excludes the males. The masculine is the default, the generic principle.[i]

According to the Real Academia Española: "The explicit mention of the female is only justified when the opposition of the sexes is relevant in the context". It is the definition of a use of the language in which women are invisible.

Concerned about the undesirable effects of this generic masculine principle which invisibilizes women, linguistic policies have been implemented in the English-speaking world, which aim at focusing on the replacement of masculine terms by neutrals. For example, the noun “fireman” has been modified so that it includes both male and female candidates to the professions. Nowadays, the neutral noun “firefighter” is preferred. This is a clear and graphic example in which the old biased role expectation (for firefighters to be men) has been replaced for a fairer noun which includes both men and women.

We must bear in mind that language is not only an instrument for us to use consciously but the medium by which we build ourselves as desiring subjects. We either aspire to something or refrain from it according to the options that our language offers us.
In certain cases, such as job descriptions, the use of a neutral language has become a legal requirement.

In my case, I should mention that when I questioned the fact that my salary receipt indicates the male noun "Jefe" [ii] and not the female "Jefa", this -innocent?- issue was not considered important by most women. This lack of awareness of the invisibility of women in certain jobs is due to our unconscious use of the language.
My decision to make my electronic signature to indicate "Jefa" (the female noun) far from whimsical, or even politically correct, is a commitment to make women visible in leadership positions. (It must be noted that -after two years- I am still struggling to get the fair print “Jefa” on my salary receipt)

We all know that full equality can only be achieved through deep cultural changes. Nevertheless, the conscious effort of younger generations to intervene language with forms such as @ or "x" or "e" should be taken as the relentless call for attention concerning the unequal state of affairs. The asymmetry regarding the possibilities of men and women in the labour market comes as an urgent concern for us all.

New measures are being implemented in the developed countries to modify the status quo that has for centuries marginalized women from positions of power, or subjected them to unequal payment. All these modifications are emerging from numerous and global social and linguistics studies which take the issue of inequality in the workforce as of paramount importance.

Language builds reality and helps transform it.Quoting the philosopher Francis Steiner (2) "What is not named does not exist".

 

REFERENCE

  1. https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/4731542.pdf

       2. Francis George Steiner (Paris, April 23, 1929) is a writer, philosopher, and critic and theoretician of literature and culture. He is one of the most important intellectuals of international influence since the mid-20th century


 

[i] Both sentences in English means the same: "The students of this class" but in Spanish nouns, articles and pronouns are marked for gender

[ii] “Jefe” / “Jefa” means both “Boss”

 

---Español

Un lenguaje justo para construir un mundo más justo
 

 “El lenguaje no es una mera herramienta mediante la cual expresamos y comunicamos nuestros pensamientos. El lenguaje hace pensamiento- se piensa cuando se habla-y al mismo tiempo, representa y construye realidad. (…) El uso sesgado del lenguaje (…) influye en las actitudes, el comportamiento y las percepciones de las personas…”

Del artículo “Lenguaje no sexista y barreras a su utilización. Un estudio en el ámbito universitario”, Universidad de Sevilla (1)

 

Al analizar notas periodísticas, conversaciones, libros, publicidades y otros productos simbólicos, notamos la falta de concientización de que estamos grabando ciertos mensajes sesgados en nuestras mentes. Pareciera que nos cuesta tomar conciencia de que estamos forjando cultura.

Por eso me parece apropiado incluir en nuestro blog un artículo respecto al lenguaje como una herramienta fundamental en la Dirección de Proyectos. Quienes nos dedicamos a esta profesión pasamos muchas horas de nuestro día comunicando. Es una de nuestras tareas más importantes y amerita un esfuerzo consciente para detectar los posibles sesgos de género tales como prejuicios, estereotipos y mandatos.

En el español el género masculino es el inclusivo o incluyente frente al femenino marcado, que pasa a ser el género exclusivo o excluyente: "Los alumnos de esta clase" incluye a hombres y mujeres, pero "Las alumnas de esta clase" excluye a los varones. El masculino es el default, el principio genérico.
Según la Real Academia Española: “La mención explícita del femenino solo se justifica cuando la oposición de sexos es relevante en el contexto”. Es la definición de un uso de la lengua donde las mujeres están invisibles.

Atentos a los efectos indeseados de este principio del masculino genérico, en el mundo angloparlante se han enfocado en el reemplazo de términos masculinos por neutros. Por ejemplo, fireman (bombero). En este caso hoy se usa preferentemente firefighter, que es neutro. En este ejemplo queda graficada la expectativa de rol que si bien antes quedaba limitada al varón hoy en día se abre (mediante el uso del neutro) tanto a varones como a mujeres. Hay que recordar que la lengua no sólo es instrumento que usamos sino que es el medio en el que nos construimos como sujetos deseantes. Aspiramos o no a algo según las opciones que nos proponga nuestra lengua.
En ciertos casos, tal como descripciones de trabajos, se volvió un requisito legal el uso de un lenguaje neutro.

Como ejemplo personal, al mencionar que mi propio recibo de sueldo indica “Jefe” y no “Jefa”, el tema no fue considerado importante por la mayoría de las mujeres. La decisión de que mi firma electrónica indique “Jefa” es un compromiso con visibilizar a las mujeres en puestos de liderazgo, aun cuando sigo en la lucha de que esto se refleje en la descripción de mi cargo.

Más allá de que para lograr la equidad sean necesarios cambios culturales profundos, el esfuerzo consciente de las generaciones más jóvenes de intervenir el lenguaje con formas como el @ o la “x” o la “e” debería tomarse como el llamado de atención constante que estos jóvenes hacen sobre la urgencia de intervenir en otras esferas.
Apuntan a modificar el statu quo que ha mantenido durante siglos una asimetría en los puestos de poder, evidenciada por el pago desigual, la falta de mujeres en puestos directivos, el lenguaje sexista en las oficinas, y otros hechos que son hoy en día objeto de numerosos estudios en todo el mundo.

El lenguaje construye la realidad y contribuye a transformarla.
Citando al filósofo Francis Steiner (2) “Lo que no se nombra no existe”.

 

REFERENCIAS

  1. https://dialnet.unirioja.es/descarga/articulo/4731542.pdf

       2. Francis George Steiner (París, 23 de abril de 1929) es un escritor, filósofo, y crítico y teórico de la literatura y de la cultura. Se trata de uno de los intelectuales de influencia internacional más relevantes desde mediados del siglo XX

Posted by Marcela Terzi on: January 06, 2019 05:08 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

Taking Conscience: Open Community Meeting Highlights.

A new community interested in Women Leadership has been opened this year in Buenos Aries, Argentina. After five meetings where men and women exchanged ideas, and with the purpose of closing the year sharing all the research done, an open community meeting was held.

The event baptized “Taking Conscience”, began with the participation of the audience through on-line surveys to allow them to identify any possible biases regarding gender roles and their expectations.

Representative touching stories about women throughout history were presented to understand the reason of the complexity of gender matters. Every story included a fight for equality of rights and opportunities during the last centuries, dealing with consequences such as being condemned to the guillotine.

We later remembered remarkable women in several disciplines and discussed what they had in common.

Women who made significant contributions to the information technology since 1843 were then brought up. This proved that the field is suitable to the female brain, and they highlighted the lack of visibility that women have had. 

What is going on nowadays? World-wide statistics show that access to top managerial positions for women as well as the gender and race wage gap have got a very long way to go. This happens in every country but in Argentina in particular. Project Management Institute, based on a survey made in 22 countries, counts only with 30% of women. Moreover, they are paid less than their male pairs. In the event a cute video was shown, in which a boy and a girl, through a game, realized the incomprehensible injustice of this reality.

Why is this still happening then? We talked about both internal and external barriers, stereotypes and myths that lead us to this complex situation, limiting us on our choices or conditioning our surroundings.

What can we do to change? How do we deconstruct these barriers? We shared some progress from several worldwide organizations that have set the goal to achieve an equal payment and distribution by 2030 for women, young men and people with disabilities. Iceland is a perfect example of how that goal can be reached.

Gender diversity programs that companies are implementing were mentioned, pointing the pros and cons of some measures. One of the members shared her experience in a corporation showing us the consequences of one of those programs and the benefits it had for every employee.

Counting on the Psychologist Elena Espil support, we shared few advices and tips that allow us to understand how mental models differs between women and men. This can help us improve our ability to communicate, taking advantage of the best qualities from everybody.

Inspiring messages and videos were presented in order to question ourselves about our own misconceptions and experiences.

Everyone is invited to join us next year to continue addressing these topics within the framework of PMI.

During a final toast we had the opportunity to exchange needs and establish connections with other organizations that pursue similar interests.

Personally, I believe the first step is recognizing our own biases. Only then we will be able to change this world into one with equality of opportunities.

We wish you a prosperous New Year in which we continue taking conscience!

Posted by María del Rosario Valicente on: December 28, 2018 08:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

Innovate to find our own leadership spaces, that’s the key

Categories: diversity, gender, leadership, women

Understanding what ‘s leading us to lose the motivation to struggle to move from middle management to senior leadership, is what will allow us to overcome our own barriers and eliminate the preconceptions that lie deep in the minds of men, but also in the minds of many women.

 

We see women today claiming for leadership spaces, but at the same time we also see opportunities in front of them that many women seem not to want to take advantage of.

That's where I start thinking about the famous "glass ceiling"; could it be that in “all” cases are “others” who are putting that ceiling on us? Could it be that in many cases we find that ceiling because “we” are the ones to limit ourselves before the slightest difficulty or resistance? I think it’s an important mix of both.

The macho society effectively puts a barrier that don’t allow us to move toward the leadership positions we want, as a matter of fact. But, let us think about it, are those the opportunities we truly want? I see that we do not hesitate to assume leadership at home, but what happens at workplace?

Perhaps the problem is that we are not really interested in those opportunities, which in most cases have been designed for and by men.

I understand there is an important lack of appropriate laws that defends us from abuse and other fundamental rights that must be respected in modern societies. But what I want to focus on is “our” awareness about what are we fighting for? We have to state if we are wanting to compete with them in a “man” scenario or if we want to generate a new one, suitable for both women and men.

I firmly and deeply believe we must innovate, generate new spaces, investigate new options, create the opportunities that truly mobilize us. Maybe the current proposals are not those that motivate us and we should discover what is that in which women are interested in to lead. 

Many studies attribute the lack of women in leadership positions to the fact that we are not interested in hard sciences, we are afraid to take risks, we are afraid of failure, we don’t like to compete.

I don’t see it in that way. At least not in most of the women I know. We like to compete, we like hard sciences and we also take risks and huge ones.

We are still suffering a heavy cultural influence in which women must be "in charge of the house" and carry out everything related to family care.

But things are changing and today there are many men interested in sharing these care activities. So, the extra work should not be the reason.

I want to present you the case of a leader from the Argentine Northwest, Rosario Quispe, who decided to take the initiative to change the lives of 80 aboriginal communities in the Puna area, more precisely in Abra Pampa, province of Jujuy.

It’s a place abandoned to his own fate, with almost no roads and water. In this context and with unemployment reaching high levels, young people was moving away because the opportunities were outside the community. People migrated to not return any more. their own culture was vanishing.

In those critical moments, this woman without formal studies or economic resources but with a great vision and strong determination, decided to create an association of women from her community that called Warmi Sayajsungo ("Persevering women" in Quechua). In her own words, it was created "to be together, to be better, to eat, to be able to educate our children".

This association soon began to promote productive activities, microcredit systems to support these activities and also got support from different personalities to improve the infrastructure, health and education of the community. 

In partnership with a private university from other province, opened in 2012 the University of La Puna in Abra Pampa. They had the first graduate as a Safety and Hygiene Technician in 2016 and in a few months, the first students in Economics and Business Administration will graduate, too. "If we do not have studies, we can lose many things" said Quispe. 

In summary: a group of women without resources or formal education but with a motivation to lead a change in their communities, ventured to take a step further. After 20 years they continue to work hard to improve continuously and to reach a point of no return for all improvements established.

The diamond theory says that we can not have complete control over the others or even over our own objectives, no matter how much we try to convince people or to reach our goals. What we actually can control is ourselves and our own learning processes and knowledge gained through experience, so we must focus primarily on what we have control over. This is why I think that the solution is mainly in our hands and that we could only reach our goals with intense work, innovating to create a fair and equitative world both for women and men, a world where I am sure we would be truly interested in being leaders.. 

Let us lead this essential change that we all need to undertake!

 

 

 

 

Innovar para encontrar nuestros propios espacios de liderazgo, esa es la clave - Por Adriana Cibelli
 

Entender qué es lo que nos lleva a perder la motivación por luchar para avanzar desde mandos medios al liderazgo senior, es lo que nos va a permitir superar nuestras propias barreras y eliminar los preconceptos que subyacen  profundamente en la mente de los hombres, pero también en la de muchas mujeres.

 

Vemos en la actualidad mujeres reclamando espacios de liderazgo, pero a la vez también vemos oportunidades que se presentan y que muchas mujeres parecen no querer aprovechar. 

Es allí donde comienzo a pensar acerca del famoso “techo de cristal”; ¿Será que en todos los casos nos están poniendo ese techo? ¿Será que en muchos casos somos nosotras mismas las que nos auto limitamos ante el mínimo indicio de dificultad o resistencia? Creo que es un poco de ambos.

Efectivamente la sociedad machista nos impone barreras que no nos dejan avanzar hacia las posiciones de liderazgo que queremos, sin lugar a dudas. Pero pensemos un poco más allá, son esas oportunidades las que verdaderamente queremos? No dudamos en asumir el liderazgo en nuestras casas, pero qué nos impide asumir liderazgos en el ámbito laboral?

Tal vez la problemática pase porque no nos interesan verdaderamente esas oportunidades, que en su mayor parte han sido diseñadas por y para hombres.

¿Deberíamos innovar y generar nuevos espacios, investigar nuevas opciones?
De esto estoy convencida.

Se entiende, por supuesto, que aún falta mucho camino por recorrer, como leyes contra el abuso y tantos otros derechos fundamentales que deberían ser respetados en sociedades modernas. No podemos desconocer esa realidad. Pero quiero poner el foco en nuestra propia concientización sobre aquello por lo cual reclamamos. Debemos tener claro si queremos competir con los hombres en un escenario de hombres o bien generar nuevos, que se adequen a hombres y mujeres.

Creo firme y profundamente que debemos innovar, generar nuevos espacios, investigar nuevas opciones, crear las oportunidades que verdaderamente nos movilicen. Tal vez los planteos actuales no sean aquellos que nos motiven y debamos descubrir qué es lo que a las mujeres nos interesa liderar.

Muchos estudios atribuyen la ausencia de mujeres en puestos de liderazgo al hecho de que no nos interesan las ciencias duras, a que tenemos miedo a tomar riesgos, a que le tenemos miedo al fracaso, a que no nos gusta competir.
No lo veo así. Al menos no en la mayoría de las mujeres que conozco. Nos gusta competir, nos gustan las ciencias duras y también tomamos riesgos, grandes riesgos por cierto.

Aún tenemos ese gran peso cultural en el que la mujer debe tomar “cuenta de la casa” y llevar a cabo todo lo relacionado con el cuidado de la familia y lo doméstico.
Pero las cosas están cambiando y hoy día hay muchos hombres interesados en compartir estos cuidados y actividades, con lo cual ese trabajo adicional que consume nuestro tiempo y energías no debería ser el motivo.

Quiero presentarles el caso de una líder del Noroeste Argentino, Rosario Quispe, quien decidió tomar la iniciativa de cambiar la vida de 80 comunidades aborígenes en la zona de la Puna,  más precisamente en Abra Pampa, provincia de Jujuy.
Es un lugar librado a su propia suerte, con caminos casi inexistentes  al igual que el agua. En ese contexto y con un desempleo que había alcanzado niveles alarmantes, la cultura de su comunidad se estaba perdiendo. Los jóvenes se alejaban porque las oportunidades estaban fuera de la comunidad, la gente emigraba para no volver.

Fue entonces que esta sencilla mujer, sin estudios formales ni recursos económicos pero sí con una gran visión y una fuerte determinación, decidió en 1995 crear una asociación de mujeres de su comunidad. La llamó Warmi Sayajsungo (“Mujeres perseverantes” en quechua) y fue creada, según sus propias palabras, “para estar juntos, para estar mejor, para poder comer, para poder educar a nuestros hijos”.

Esta asociación en poco tiempo comenzó a impulsar actividades productivas, sistemas de microcréditos para apoyar esas actividades, y consiguió apoyo de distintas personalidades para mejorar la infraestructura, salud y educación de la comunidad.
En alianza con una universidad privada de otra provincia, abrió en 2012 la Universidad de la Puna en Abra Pampa. Tuvo su primer egresado como Técnico en Seguridad e Higiene en 2016 y en poco tiempo se tendrán los primeros graduados en Ciencias económicas y Administración de Empresas. “Si no tenemos estudios, podemos perder muchas cosas”, declaró Quispe.

En resumen: un grupo de mujeres sin recursos ni educación formal pero con la motivación de liderar ese cambio en sus comunidades, que se aventuraron a dar un paso más allá. Después de 20 años siguen trabajando duramente para mejorar y para que lo conseguido sea sustentable en el tiempo, que ya no tenga vuelta atrás.

Desde que conocí la teoría del diamante que dice que no podemos tener completo control sobre los demas y sobre inclusive, nuestros propios objetivos, aunque hagamos grandes esfuerzos por alcanzarlos y cconvencerlos; pero sí podemos tener control sobre nosotros mismos y nuestro aprendizaje a partir de nuestra experiencia.  Por esto mismo es que considero que la solución está principalmente en nuestras manos y solamente alcanzaremos nuestras metas mediante un intenso trabajo, innovando, para tener un mundo justo, equitativo para hombres y mujeres, en el cual no dudo, nos interesará ser las líderes.

Seamos verdaderas protagonistas de este cambio tan fundamental que todas precisamos llevar adelante!
 

 

Posted by Adriana Cibelli on: December 10, 2018 08:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)
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