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International women's day at 5CA

by Marina Kliueva | March 08, 2020

 

 

International Women’s day is here and we would really like to give it the attention it deserves. That is why we’ve asked Recruiter Ivana Bera, Senior Agent Ana Morazán, Traffic Controller Cinandi Botha and Administrative Assistant Sera Ozerinc to answer 5 questions regarding this important day and the position of women in general.

community development

What relevance does ‘international women’s day’ hold for you?

Ivana: It’s one day of the year that recognizes the value that women bring to individual communities and to the world in general. It showcases the incredible struggles and accomplishments of women who have paved the way for all modern women today. We still live in a man’s world, so we need to take a step back and appreciate who women are as mothers, entrepreneurs, leaders, fighting the modern-day struggles.

Ana: International Women’s Day to me is a day to look back at how much women have achieved and progressed in the search for equality; a day where such history serves as motivation and fuel for me to keep using my own skills to contribute to a cause that continues, to this day, holding the same importance.

Cinandi: We celebrate it on a different day in my home country (and it’s a public holiday!) so it’s been really interesting to see how different countries and cultures choose to celebrate it. It’s definitely gotten more relevant to me as I got older, being seen as a day to uplift and celebrate the women around us that not only have an impact on the world, but our daily lives (looking at you mom!).

Sera: Where I come from, International Women’s Day has always been eventful. A peaceful march to show support to women’s rights, equality or protesting the increasing amount of violence against women would always mean that in the end you might get yourself in trouble. It is not sunshine and rainbows, unfortunately.

Who is your greatest female role model, and why?

Ivana:  I’ve always looked up to people around me and close to me more than world famous people. My mother has been one of the biggest role models for me being a strong, independent woman fighting prejudices and everyday odds by juggling life, career, education and single parenting. Doing so while never losing her smile.

Ana: While always hard to only pick one, my current greatest female role model is my sister María Teresa – 8 years my elder. Her list of achievements could be a reason for anyone to feel superior to others, but this has never been the case for her as she’s always been driven by great ethics and humility. Her confidence has never overshadowed her empathy, her success has never made her devalue teamwork and she gives women a good name in the best way there is: letting her skills and values speak for themselves.

Cinandi: I know this is cliché but I’m going to say my Grandma. She was fiercely intelligent, the first of her family to get any type of further education outside of high school, managed to raise 6 kids and was one of the best bakers I’ve ever known, despite plenty of hardship. She broke through every obstacle put in her way in such a graceful manner. 

Fictionally, I’m going to say Leslie Knope. Her confidence in not only herself, her abilities and her team always makes me want to be like her a little bit more. She also believes that waffles are an important part of life, which is something I relate to immensely.

Sera: 100% my mom. She’s the strongest woman I know and I am so lucky to have been raised by her. She most definitely shaped me into the person I am today; she’s raised me with the sense of self-worth, always pushing boundaries to improve myself and cherish my independence, never bow down to anyone!

What barriers have you personally faced and how did you overcome them?

Ivana:  Being a woman in a patriarchal society comes with constant struggle to prove yourself worthy of something. I’ve always had to fight that old prejudice that girls who are too “girly” can’t be smart, educated and successful.

Ana: Within a workplace, I have thankfully not encountered barriers for being a woman. However, I have a passion for video games, I like to use my physical strength to help and I am one to hold the door open for others – all these things have been frowned upon by a few at some point in my life because they were not deemed lady-like. I overcome these remarks by being openly proud of my passion and unapologetically ‘chivalrous’. After all, admiration for art and good manners are genderless things.

Cinandi: I’ve often found myself in jobs in mainly male-dominated industries and companies, often having to compete with others for contracts and clients, which was incredibly challenging at first. I will always be grateful for that experience because I believe it has helped me become as strong-willed (some might say stubborn…they wouldn’t be entirely wrong) as I am today. It has helped me become more analytical and deliberate in my approach to multiple areas of my life.

Sera: I have been subjected to personal bias for a management position in the past because I’m a woman. They never say it out loud; it’s the little things you notice in a place. Unfortunately, regardless of location, males are favored to be in management positions because women are perceived to be more ”emotional” and ”irrational”. Despite the bias, I did not give up. Eventually, I proved myself to the point that recognition was unavoidable without raising eyebrows and earned my spot; achieved a company record with the department that I led.    

If you could share one piece of advice with young girls just starting out in their professional career, what would it be?

Ivana:  Never give up. Never stop moving forward. Don’t let other people’s opinions get to you and drag you away from your goal. When they say you can’t do it, take it as a challenge and prove them all wrong! 

Ana: Recognize and trust your set of skills, seek what fulfills you and never let competitiveness (with men and women alike) be your only guide. If you see someone is struggling, help them; If you see someone is better than you in anything, be genuinely happy for them and strive for growth. Women may be underestimated in many professional fields but the best thing you can do to prove the skeptics wrong is to have your skills, strengths, interests, and values naturally and unapologetically shine through.

Cinandi: If you possess an idea or knowledge on how to do or improve something, put your driving force behind it. If they push back, push back harder. You will hear “no” more often than “yes” but sometimes that will open doors for you that you wouldn’t even have thought possible.  

If all else fails, always remember the words of Leslie Knope; “I am a Goddess, a glorious female warrior” 

Sera: There’ll be many times you will have to face situations where people will make you doubt yourself deliberately, make you feel like you’re not hard-working enough, sane enough, pretty enough. You’ll learn to grow a thick skin Don’t listen to them. March on. You got it!

Name the one thing you would like to see women achieve in the near future.

Ivana:  Support. I’d love to see women support each other more in the future instead of seeing each other as rivals. There’s nothing better than strong women rooting for one another, that unity is essentially what our female ancestors fought for in the past and why we celebrate International Women’s Day today.

Ana: I would love to see more women holding leading positions across different fields: sports, politics, finances, business, engineering, etc. This does not mean “taking over” those positions that have mostly been taken by men – rather sharing the spotlight.

Cinandi: We’ve come so far the last few years in terms of achievements, however one thing I would like to see is more female game devs coming up. It is one career path I’ve always wanted to get involved in and seeing others not only climb up that ladder but make it all the way to the top is just an amazing feeling. Also, then we might finally get a feature in games that help us remember what we were doing before adulthood got in the way all those months ago (looking at you Skyrim).

Sera: I would love to see more badass women in government positions, managerial positions, leading big companies, leading in science. What Beyonce says should be true: ”Who run the world? Girls!”

Marina Kliueva

Originally from Saint Petersburg, Russia, Community Development Specialist Marina has been working from the Utrecht office since early 2018. Marina is also an aspiring filmmaker and is currently working on her second short film.