There’s a lot of persons I admire in this world and in my local communities. Entrepreneurs, CEOs, techies, visionaries and executors. They are different, varied, all kinds of personalities and types. Most of the time, what they have in common are three things – they’re passionate. They’re inspiring. And they’re male.
The thing is, I get along fine with guys. I have absolutely no problem being the only chick in the crowd and for the past 5 years that’s usually been the way it has been. I’m having fun, I’m excelling at what I do and I enjoy my work life and I absolutely adore the people I work with. I haven’t seen the lack of girls in my professional life as a big issue – I’ve just noticed that it is what it is.
As of fairly recently, I was asked to take over as CEO of our company. I love a challenge and this is definitely the biggest ones I’ve taken on – so I’ve realized I’m going to need some support. And I do have support from more experienced people… All men. And here’s when I start realizing it… There are experiences I have as a girl who most guys won’t have. Some of them are very directly discriminating experiences – but most of them are based on internalized shit in the form of shame and fear. As a girl I’ve been taught by society not to take space, not to speak up – so when I do, it’s hard. I do it a lot. It’s still hard, even if I’ve gotten used to it. Negotiating for myself is super hard. Speaking up when things are bothering me is so difficult.
Of course there are powerful women around. Sheryl Sandberg and her book Lean In taught me a lot. A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting Cindy Gallop. What a firework of a woman!
There are great female role models out there. They’re just a little too far apart.