A book. A community. The sense of belonging.

301 words by Daniela Felletti

Why do I feel often judged or guilty? How should I behave to be respected? Why can’t they see my added values?
If you are a woman or part of any underrepresented group, I have a feeling you will connect to this constant self-questioning…
For 31 years of my life, I found myself living these conflicts and barriers that I couldn’t understand why they existed.
I was living in Madrid when I suffered a mobbing from a company for the first time in my life and I think that was the moment of my lowest self-esteem. At this point, I was desperate to find inspiration … continue

Don’t underestimate space and body language

301 words by Corinna-Rosa Falkenberg

I still remember how, during my time in investment banking, I understood that negotiations are conducted differently by men and women, in particular on an unconscious level. That was my first job after graduation and I was the only woman among many men in our meeting room. Some of the “biggest” floor traders were in the room. Definitely a lot of testosterone.
I noticed how the men clarified their ranking shortly after entering. This was done through gestures, facial expressions and literally taking a lot of physical and mental room.

I was flabbergasted and had to think how I once witnessed a cockfight in Java … continue

HOW I BECAME MY OWN VERSION OF POWERFUL

301 words by Aleks Sztemberg

I always thought that to be powerful meant to be tough “like a man.” Speak with dominant language, a loud voice, and get openly angry when I don’t agree with something. 

When I realized that I am not advancing upwards in my career – only sideways – I looked into the experiences of my male colleagues along the way. I wondered how one becomes a C-level executive with less experience or knowledge than I have had?

In my last role, I started acting and communicating “like a man.” I was direct and not afraid to speak my mind. I was very open about my professional … continue

How I learned to give myself the space I deserve

My sister who is two years older than me performed very well in school – but I performed better. So I learned to suppress myself in order to let her shine. My sister never asked me to do that, neither was it a conscious decision that I made. It was lurking inside me for forty years before I became conscious about it during a session with my therapist.
I am a lecturer and I used to fall in a deep, black hole after each lecture – no matter if the lecture was excellent or terrible. I did not understand why, it hurt, but I continued to lecture: I simply loved … continue

Breaking the vicious circle

I was born in a slum area of Mumbai. I can’t remember having a best friend and till I was 12, I did not really know what a birthday celebration was. My dream was to finish school but the odds were not in my favor. In my slum area, there is no supportive environment for girls’ education. No one to inspire or guide us. So most of us drop out. I was no exception.
In 10th grade I failed my exams and had to quit school. My failure was taken as an evidence that girls should not be educated. I had no choice but so start working in order to … continue

Sister to Sister

I was born and lived my early years in a rural set up before moving to the city. I was lucky enough to study and work. Most of my classmates dropped out of school, got married and never had a real chance to reach their potential. Some of them, like my cousin who was more like a twin sister to me, were succumbing due to reproductive health and rights gaps that women from low-income families have. 
People talk a lot about The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) these days, which shall provide a better life to everyone. But they don’t mean the same thing for everyone. When we talk about the … continue

Trust and Solidarity

When I arrived in Barcelona in 1999, in search for opportunities I could not find in my native Senegal, I was lonely and poor. But also resourceful and creative. I started thinking about how I could remedy the situation. And I remembered a model my mother and aunts used to be involved in Senegal. It was an informal savings model called a “tontine”. A tontine is set up by a group of people who pool money that is then handed out, in turns, to its members. For example, a group of 8 people will, at the first meeting, all put in Euro 100. One member is then nominated to receive continue