On Friday 8th March is International Women’s Day and since I am all about starting my own business these days, I wanted to share some thoughts about a woman’s life in 2019 and the difficulties we may have to face if we want to make our way in business as a woman and in life in general.
International Women’s Day 2019 and nothing has changed
I already wrote posts around Women’s Day over the last few years and my resume is: Nothing has changed. More so, sometimes I feel like the attitude towards women has become even worse. This is only my personal impression and you may want to tell me about your experience on this point and try to convince me of the opposite, but I think only one woman feeling that way is one too many.
Just today I had a chat with my colleagues during our lunch break about the life of a woman and the difficulties we often have with imposter syndrome and, related, about perception of women in our society. The talk was initiated by me telling my colleagues about an Austrian Influencer and business women who made a little survey on Instagram among her female followers about questions women have to face which men don’t. Questions like “Why don’t you have kids?”, “What does your man think about your plan?”, “Why are you still single?” or – my absolute favourite – “A second study? Shouldn’t you better think about having kids?”. I mean, seriously?!?
Men are still the heroes of our society
Only a tiny minority would ask men the same questions. As I wrote in my post in 2017 on International Women’s Day, no matter what women decide on – for instance: having kids, not having kids – we always have to justify our decisions. Whereas men are always seen as heroes, no matter if they are all about their career or all about their children. Men don’t have to justify anything. If they are married and having a great career, they have it all and their wife should be beyond grateful. If they are screwing around, living a bachelor’s dream, they are “only breaking their horns”, whereas a women doing the same is simply stigmatised as a whore and should be grateful if one man ever takes pity on her and makes her his wife. I am sick of it. But honestly, I don’t think that’s ever going to change. I think, women need to grow even stronger in order to make the world at least see if not acknowledge the fact that we are as great as men are in their eyes.
Differences between women and men
A few years ago, congruously around Women’s Day, I stumbled over a book called “Sheconomy” by Christiane Funken which enlightened my view on many things. She writes about skills women have to acquire in order to make it in business. She compares female behaviour with male behaviour in similar situations which makes it easy to actually see the differences and learn from it.
I have always had a poor picture of myself, was seldom confident about myself. I always had troubles with my weight, I was always too clumsy and not as graceful as I wanted to be and I always struggled with my self-confidence which led to a bad ability of taking critics and avoiding confrontations at all costs. From the book I learned that women have to learn to sell themselves better. Men seem to be born confident, a majority of them at least. If they do something well, they tell the whole world about it. If a woman is successful she mostly downplays it or even starts talking about difficulties she had during the project. Due to this downplaying among other things we are struggling with “making it” in business.
My learnings in celebration of International Women’s Day
What I learned from “Sheconomy” is to take a praise as what it is and just say thank you, be proud and not start downplaying my effort. Additionally, I am all about actually acknowledging my efforts and not focusing on mistakes. Mistakes happen and I learn from them, but I don’t want to focus on them when the real spotlight should be on the things that worked out well. If you aren’t born with the needed confidence you have to work on yourself and the ability to acknowledge your abilities and strengths. Same with confrontations. I don’t like them and they are still bothering me often weeks after they happened. But I try to not avoid them anymore. Which is really hard for me, but if I want to make it in business I have to become thick-skinned which I only can by facing confrontations.
Since I am working on myself for years now, I know for sure the work pays off. My self-confidence is growing ever since and I am on a healthy base right now. My ability of taking critics is getting better as well as my ability of taking on confrontations, although this is the hardest. Babysteps, but still, steps in the right direction.
The hardest confrontation is the one with yourself
I am still clumsy and will never have the grace of a ballet dancer. I am still not sporting a body like Elle McPherson and never will (because I am only 160 cm). I am still a tad too nervous and I still struggle with just being in the moment. But you know what? That’s me and I like myself. I know my weak spots and on which ones I have to work and I do so. Most of all, I know my strengths. And one of my strengths is the ability to take on confrontations with myself and make changes when I feel I need to do so. Which is why I have started my own business for instance. There is no time for waiting and there is definitely no time for complaints. If something isn’t working anymore, I change it. If I want to achieve something, i.e. happiness in all parts of my life, I have to leave my comfort zone. And everytime I did so so far, I was bursting with proud and happiness.
International Women’s Day is a day for celebrating our gender
International Women’s Day is so, so important. Us women, we tend to downplay our skills and achievements and in the end ourselves. Which is so wrong because we are good at achieving goals and we are actually really good in doing business. Because the upside of all the downplaying our abilities is that at the same time we don’t overestimate ourselves and make sane and well calculated decisions.
International Women’s Day is for celebrating our gender, our strengths, our efforts and our success as well as it is a reminder for us: We don’t need to justify our choices. Just live the best life possible. Make decisions, make mistakes, learn from failures and grow stronger with every step on our way. Let’s show the world what we are capable of and celebrate that we are strong and wild and fabulous!
If you are curious about my new business, you may want to visit my new website. 🙂