Hello SOTGC community,
A couple of weeks ago while hosting a lunch for WITISweden it suddenly struck me: All the brilliant women that I continuously meet online and offline on a daily basis are smart, well educated and have an extensive CV that I seldom experience when meeting men at work. This is not to say that men are not smart or well-educated and have a great CVs, but it strikes me time after time that women still seem to need a very extensive CV to reach above the glass ceiling.
In Sweden 60% of university students are women. Not only do more female students complete their degree than male students, they do so with better results. They also have better grades in high school. Still, women are not as prevalent in boardrooms and in positions of authority.
I recently did an experiment, which I challenge you to do:
What is the first picture that comes to mind when asked to think of the gender of a:
- Soldier in the army
- CEO of a big company
- Bus driver
- Daycare teacher
The responses I got from both women and men were unambiguous as follows:
- Young, white man
- White, middle-aged man with glasses
- White middle-aged man
- Middle-aged man.
- Young white woman
- Young woman
- White middle-aged man
The people I asked were all stunned, and some were embarrassed as well, since they all thought they were unbiased and had broad views on equality in work. I’m not surprised at all because I answered about the same. The difference is that I’m aware of my bias, and awareness is the first step to breaking the glass ceiling. But you need to act on your bias as well in order to increase the opportunities for all to use their superpowers/talents in life and work. And that’s economy, as I mentioned in my previous blog post “The 5 tips that lead to success”. People are the natural resources, and we need to take care of them as such. We need to be given and take the opportunities to use our talents to create a better place for us all to live. That’s the only sustainable way to move forward and keep the earth a great place to live in.
Here are some tips to increase women’s opportunities in work life:
- Increase your awareness of your own prejudices.
- Ask yourself – if I were a man, would I be treated this way? Act on it.
- Ask yourself – if this was a man speaking, would I listen differently?
- Support and cheer on the women around you.
- Good enough is enough. You’ll be just fine doing enough.
- Surround yourself with men that support women in work life.
- Spend time with people that support you on your way to success.
As I work in the tech startup ecosystem, I keep on running into these fabulous women that are strong, follow their path, and inspire and help other women succeed. I love networking and connecting people that I think can benefit from each other in order to move forward in whatever they are aiming at. I was very happy when I found out about SOTGC and got the chance to be a blogger here. And that’s a miraculous story in itself.
One great woman I met in the tech ecosystem and who is part of my network is Natascha Thomson of MarketingXlerator. She is the author of the book, 42 rules for B2B Social Media Marketing and she is also a blogger here at SOTGC. Following her on social media and taking part of links and tips that she generously shares has meant a lot to me. So, if you’re not already following her in social media – do it! You’re in for a treat. She also has great webinars where she shares her in-depth knowledge of the world of social media.
“The person that says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it” is one of my favorite Chinese proverbs. Just go do it! You’re allowed to and you can.
One of my three supertalents is to have a fika. Fika is considered a social institution in Sweden, and it means having a break, most often a coffee break, with one’s colleagues, friends, date, or family.” It’s fun, healthy, and great for networking. In Sweden many people are fika pros, and people that come here to work, for example, say that fika is one of the first words and habits that they have to get used to. And it’s an easy habit to adhere to. I’ll talk more about the importance of fika and networking in my next blog post.
Look forward to hear from you,
My best as always,