Stereotypes and ‘unconscious’ gender bias still remain prevalent in limiting the growth of women in workplaces in 2020. But there is also the impact of our education, our own limiting thoughts, and the barriers we invariably set up ourselves as women. Part of our role in society is to continue to foster positive change, build communities and challenge the status quo. Of key importance to us is removing these barriers and championing equality in the workforce.
by: Marie-Adélaïde Leclercq-Olhagaray
photo: Kaori Anne Jolliffe
featured: Marie-Adélaïde Leclercq-Olhagaray
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What we have observed at WIDE, after six years of running various initiatives, is that apart from learning the technical skills we provide the biggest obstacles women face is the lack of knowledge on possibilities and the inherent fear they have in taking risks. This translates into young girls who do not even consider STEM as a potential career or entrepreneurs who hesitate to pitching their projects because it does not seem “perfect.”
It is up to us to tell them to take that step forward. Work and talent, although indispensable, are not everything. One must dare to take the step forward. Because an entrepreneurial venture will never really be perfect, complete, or ready. However, take the plunge before you know whether it will work. It is certainly a risk, but an indispensable step.
We have been increasingly intervening in high schools and universities through conferences, workshops, screenings or simple meetings in order to engage with young girls at an early stage in their careers and broaden the range of career possibilities they are considering. We want to ensure they understand that we can constantly invent and reinvent ourselves. Moreover, we are also reminding them that digital is no longer an option, but a prerequisite. It has become an indispensable toolbox and a foundation that facilitates the development of any project today.
We’ve created the WIDE Startup Leadership Program, in order to source and support women entrepreneurs’ projects before they join incubators. This program will enable participants to structure their idea, learn how to pitch, challenge their business models, network, and use new collaborative models. Beyond the technical training we provide, our role at WIDE is to light a flame in every woman we meet. It is the responsibility of each woman to keep the flame alive and the responsibility of those around to remind them of it.
This article was first published in the Silicon Luxembourg magazine. Get a copy now!