It’s early March again. That time of the year when women become central and discussions on gender equality spark debates that keep fika rooms busier than ever. It is also that time of the year when names like Marie Curie, known as the only person on Earth to win a Nobel prize twice in multiple sciences, or names like Margaret Hamilton who literally invented the modern concept of software and landed humans on the moon, become headlines.
The rest of the year? We tend to shift our focus to other powerful people, who strongly indicate that there is gender inequality. From the world’s political leaders to the most innovative CXOs, to renown scientists, we can clearly picture the gender gap and understand without doubt that women need to climb stairs faster than ever, to bring more balance in the crowd of men’s suits.
This is a current fact that does not hurt me deeply, despite being a woman. The fact that hurts me more is that once a woman gets into a very favourable position, the surrounding tends to point at her that she got the job, not only because she definitely deserved it, but also because she is a woman, and this is a strategy to start minimizing the gender gap. Oh, isn’t Hillary Clinton a perfect example of this? Everyone I talk to who considers that Hillary will win the presidency of US, mention among other facts that USA has never had a women president, therefore Hillary must win!
The fact that she is a woman attracts attention, which ultimately overshadows her competence. Looking through that lens and thinking of my current academic position, I would prefer knowing that I was offered the job, not only because of my competence, but because I am a woman too. If this is the truth, I feel like I want to run away, start a university of my own and build an empire of women like in the old ages. Let’s start a fight! Don’t take me literate, but this would hurt me deeply.
I hope that in the very near future such judgments on how women are brought into higher positions will disappear forever.
I understand that the recent urge to bring gender balance at higher positions at the universities in Sweden and elsewhere has without doubts encouraged such labels. Let us break these labels, by fighting to bring gender balance focusing on how she came up high with her competence and her success story. This is how we will start closing the gender gap, once and forever!