How to be a woman and fight with the biases
“Boys don’t cry”, “Don’t act like a girl”, “It’s not right for a girl to do so”. Here are very popular but unfair sentences. Why, how and when the behaviors attributed to women became so stigmatized? Whether we are talking about choosing a professional path, motherhood or our body, I have a feeling that as women we have to constantly prove something. To others and ourselves. What are the most harmful biases and how to fight with them?
We are weaker.
„The weaker sex” – sounds familiar, right? The truth is this statement is heard from everywhere, but we have no right to agree with it – unless we talk about anatomical gender differences. Women are not only weaker – they are definitely stronger. Stronger than they think about themselves. Although we need support, we will survive. We work, we build our homes, we care for ourselves and at the same time for our loved ones. We give birth to children and we are reborn when the time of change comes. We are becoming more and more independent – economically but also emotionally. Although we live in the 21st century, we are still fighting for our rights, and no one brave can be called weak. Courage and strength are women’s attributes.
Our place is at home.
It’s harder for a more harmful belief. Although over the years women have strongly marked their presence in the professional arena, this stereotype is still alive and is doing great. Yes, there is a place for us at home. In fact, our place is where we want to be. First of all, we have the right to choose. Work around the house is as important as a full-time job. The difference is that sometimes it lasts not 8, but actually 24 hours. However, if the career is our choice, nothing should stand in our way. Long ago, the world has found out that women are ambitious, hungry for challenges and ready to conquer the labor market. Even if they will have to break through the glass ceiling.
Motherhood and work are difficult to reconcile.
Women have ambitions to fulfill various roles – work and raising children are spaces that respond to these needs. What’s more, acting in both these areas gives women a sense of control, while enriching their experience. The willing to return to the profession after maternity leave is natural and should not be stigmatized. Unfortunately, motherhood still seems to be an invisible barrier. Yes, children get sick and have unpredictable adventures. At the same time, they teach us how important organization, consistency and responsibility are. Yet, self-discipline, reliability and time management sound like dream positions in CV for any job. For the sake of family duties, young mothers are too often stigmatized. While the truth is what makes women guilty, deserves recognition and admiration.
We are not able to work in the tech industry.
OK then, the ideological battle is won. We, women, go to work. And what do we learn? That, as women, we may not fit into the tech industry. Yes, we do have some skills, but most of them, are soft. Seriously? Fortunately, women didn’t believe it and that is why we have so many talented specialists in different fields. Women are reaching higher and reaching for more: they become software engineers, inventors, scientists. They love everything that is innovative and groundbreaking. Armed with the right tools, going hand in hand with technological progress and standing on par with their male colleagues, women are able to do great things.
We are too emotional.
What is often understood by an exaggerated emotionality is a valuable ability to express feelings. It’s openness and willingness to deal with emotions. We are aware that feelings not expressed are like a ticking bomb. I have recently discovered quite intriguing term: “gender judo”. To put it simply, it refers to leadership positions among women and their behavior. When women exhibit character traits associated with male leadership, such as assertiveness, uncompromising nature or strength, they are seen as too bossy or even aggressive. However, when they change their face and become more „like a girl” – kind, warm and sensitive, they appear too soft and weak. Achieving balance in the face of such challenges becomes almost impossible. It is true that as people we have a wide range of emotions, as women we have easier access to them. Isn’t it thanks to our female intuition? It’s the most important part of our emotional zone and we should always care for it.
For the happy ending…
…a thought-provoking video that changes – I hope forever – the meaning of the “Like a girl” sentence.