If surveyed, clients, colleagues and friends would describe me as an open-minded person sharing opinions candidly and taking a stance with no fear of push back. For many reasons, I have enjoyed controversial but respectful discussions ever since and especially at work.
The International Women’s Day triggered me to reflect once more on my own attitudes, beliefs and actions throughout my professional trajectory, especially with regards to inequity, discrimination and unfairness at the workplace – not only targeted at women but rather at any marginalized group.
Sadly, I do come to the conclusion that I could have done more to reveal (also my own) biases, oppose and rectify stereotypic comments, challenge unfair decisions and call out others’ discriminating actions and judgements. In the first place, I should have cared more and hence put more effort in reflecting my own and others’ behaviors. In sum, I should have stood up for others more often than I have. I recall situation in which I should have spoken up but remained silent.
Having that said, it recently became evident that I am able to express myself more freely and without fear of consequence since being my own boss. Working for a large cooperation did restrict my freedom of speech and my readiness to act without my conscious notice and in stark contrast to my perception of self-efficacy. Call me naïve. Only through direct comparison I become aware of it now. I feel the responsibility to use the power of my voice more than ever – as no one’s agenda or intentions put strains on me speaking up.
In light of the IWD2021, I was invited by SDworx as a speaker to discuss female empowerment and leadership with an international crowd of men and women. Our lively discourse entailed the importance of role models, the cost of equity between men and women, corporate but also personal initiatives, the power of networks and the necessity of representation. Representation meaning “embodiment of the full range of mankind’s diversity” – especially on leadership teams.
Discussing these controversial topics with such a diverse group felt encouraging, motivating and enriching. Despite the virtual format, it became evident that those are topics of significance which span beyond boarders and unite interest across cultures. Thank you all for cutting time from your busy workday to bring your attention to a common cause: equity and equality in all imaginable aspects. Let’s continue the momentum.
Speaking up is the least we can do for each other.
Thank you, Julia, for making this cross-cultural exchange possible.
And thank you, SDworx for reminding me to contributing my share.